Other Effects Of Alzheimers On Sleep
Some of the challenges that Alzheimers poses can result in an individual having reduced sleep quality, which may, in turn, worsen other symptoms of Alzheimers. For example, a lack of sleep can increase delusions, restlessness, and wandering, making sleeping more challenging.
People with Alzheimers may have difficulty communicating to their caregivers that something is wrong. For example, they may be unable to tell someone that they are experiencing pain. In this case, the pain may impair their sleep.
Having sufficient deep sleep and rapid eye movement sleep is necessary for memory preservation, and memory loss is the leading Alzheimers symptom. People with Alzheimers progressively experience less deep sleep and REM sleep.
Other potential effects of Alzheimers on sleep include decreased physical activity and spending less time in natural sunlight.
Here Are Some Guidelines And Safety Tips In Regards To The Degeneration Of The Five Senses And How It Will Affect The Person With Alzheimers Disease:
1. Sight There may be nothing physically wrong with the eyes of your loved one however the brains ability to interpret the images may be decreased. This can cause confusion, disorientation and the inability to recognize familiar people or places. A few tips to manage this decline would be to: Create color contrast between floors and walls to create visual depth. Mark the edges of steps and stairs with brightly colored strips of tape to identify height changes. Place brightly colored signs or simple pictures on doors for easier identification.
2. Smell It is very common for smell to be the first sense affected by Alzheimers disease. In most cases, it is noticed before the diagnosis of Alzheimers has been made. It is important to keep refrigerators clear of spoiled food.
3. Taste If youve ever noticed that when you nose is stuffy due to a cold or infection, your sense of taste is greatly decreased. The loss of smell plus the added decrease in taste bud sensitivity, can really affect the way your loved one tastes things. There is also the danger of confusion, leading them to place hazardous items in their mouths. Some simple recommendations would be to lock up cleaning supplies and consider learning the Heimlich maneuver in case of an emergency.
How Is Alzheimers Different From Other Forms Of Dementia
Alzheimers disease is distinguished from other forms of dementia by characteristic changes in the brain that are visible only upon microscopic examination during autopsy. Brains affected by Alzheimers disease often show presence of the following:
Fiber tangles within nerve cells
Clusters of degenerating nerve endings
Another characteristic of Alzheimers disease is the reduced production of certain brain chemicals necessary for communication between nerve cells, especially acetylcholine, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin, and somatostatin.
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What Is Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common type of irreversible dementia . Nearly 7 out of 10 people with dementia have the Alzheimers type.
While Alzheimers disease affects up to 1 in 10 Australians over 65 years of age, and up to 3 in 10 Australians over 85, it is not a normal part of ageing.
The brain contains millions of brain cells that organise how the brain stores memories, learns habits and shapes our personality. Signals pass along the connections between brain cells in the form of chemicals called neurotransmitters. Alzheimers disease affects these cells and chemicals, disturbing memory, impairing thinking and causing behaviour changes over time. People with Alzheimers disease eventually need long-term care and support.
There are 2 main types of Alzheimers disease:
- Sporadic Alzheimers is the most common form and usually occurs after age 65. Its cause is not fully understood.
- Familial Alzheimers is caused by a very rare genetic condition and results in dementia, usually in people in their 40s and 50s. This is known as younger onset dementia.
Study Shows Link Between Alzheimers And Heart Disease
Recently, researchers discovered that Alzheimers is caused by amyloid beta proteins building up in the spaces between brain cells. While this causes noticeable symptoms in the brain first, this same protein plaque can build up around the heart.
This was discovered in a study that examined 22 patients with Alzheimers and 35 patients without, all of whom were 78 or 79 years old. The goal was to analyze the stiffness present in the hearts left ventricle the thickest chamber of the heart responsible for transporting blood throughout the body.
During the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers discovered that those with Alzheimers had a thicker left ventricle than those without Alzheimers. This thickness was caused by the same plaque protein buildup that was building in the Alzheimers patients brains. The thickness can lead to various cardiovascular issues if and when the left ventricle becomes too thick to successfully pump blood through the body. As a result, this puts Alzheimers patients at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
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Dementia Caused By Huntingtons Disease
Huntingtons disease is an inherited degenerative brain disease that affects the mind and body. It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50, and is characterised by intellectual decline and irregular involuntary movement of the limbs or facial muscles. Other symptoms include personality change, memory disturbance, slurred speech, impaired judgement and psychiatric problems.There is no treatment available to stop the progression of this disease, but medication can control movement disorders and psychiatric symptoms. Dementia occurs in the majority of people with Huntingtons disease.
How Does Alzheimers Affect The Brain
A healthy brain contains billions of neurons, which are specialized cells that process and transmit information between different parts of the brain to the muscles and organs of the body via electrical and chemical signals . Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication. This ultimately results in loss of function and cell death.
The brain typically shrinks to some degree as a person ages, but it doesnt actually lose neurons in large numbers. In Alzheimers disease the damage is larger. Neurons stop functioning and lose connection with other neurons affecting communication.
It first starts with destroying neurons that are involved in memory and eventually affects areas in the brain responsible for language, reasoning and social behavior. Overtime, a person may lose his or her ability to live and function independently.
People with Alzheimers may also experience vascular problems that may lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This results in inflammation which adds further vascular problems.
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Later In Alzheimer Disease
As Alzheimer disease progresses, people have trouble remembering events in the past. They start to forget the names of friends and relatives. They may require help with eating, dressing, bathing, and going to the toilet. All sense of time and place is lost: People with Alzheimer disease may even get lost on their way to the bathroom at home. Their increasing confusion puts them at risk of wandering and falling.
Disruptive or inappropriate behavior, such as wandering, agitation, irritability, hostility, and physical aggression, is common.
Eventually, people with Alzheimer disease cannot walk or take care of their personal needs. They may be incontinent and unable to swallow, eat, or speak. These changes put them at risk of undernutrition, pneumonia, and pressure sores . Memory is completely lost.
Ultimately, coma and death, often due to infections, result.
What Happens To The Body With Alzheimers
Primarily, Alzheimers impacts the brain. However, as the disease progresses, it starts to harm other bodily systems as well.
As the brain deteriorates, it has more difficulty controlling parts of the body. Therefore, in the late stages of Alzheimers, those with the disease may exhibit:
- Dragging or shuffling the feet when walking
- Difficulty standing
- Difficulty sitting in a chair
- Difficulty eating, chewing and swallowing
- Uncontrollable twitches
- Problems controlling the bladder and bowels
- Difficulties with tasks of daily living
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Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment . With MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimers, but not all of them do so. Some may even revert to normal cognition.
The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. For many, decline in nonmemory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment may signal the very early stages of the disease. Researchers are studying biomarkers to detect early changes in the brains of people with MCI and in cognitively normal people who may be at greater risk for Alzheimers. More research is needed before these techniques can be used broadly and routinely to diagnose Alzheimers in a health care providers office.
Caring For Someone With Parkinsons
Practice patience and understanding when dealing with Parkinsons. You may be very frustrated and challenged as a caregiver, but those with Parkinsons are just as frustrated. Their physical and mental conditions can be debilitating, depressing, and humiliating.
Diet and nutrition can have a huge impact on the health and comfort of a Parkinson patient. Eating well, getting more rest, sleeping well, fresh air, and exercise can make a difference. Getting the right medication and complementary therapies is also important.
As Parkinsons impacts a patients motor skills, modifications to the living environment may have to be made to accommodate wheelchairs and limited mobility issues. Professional in-home assistance for Parkinsons can allow Parkinson patients to remain independent and can enhance quality of life.
Most importantly, seek help and support from family, friends, and caregiving support groups. Take advantage of the resources in your community. Shouldering all the burden can take a toll on a caregiver.
Take care of yourself or you wont be able to take care of your loved one. Follow the preventive advice provided above for yourself as well, and take deep breaths!
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How Is Alzheimer Dementia Diagnosed
An Alzheimer Dementia diagnosis may take some time. There is no test that can tell your doctor whether you have the disease. Give your doctor plenty of information to help determine the cause of your symptoms. Your doctor may want to evaluate the following in you or your loved one:
- Current health and medical history.
- Daily routine and any changes in your behavior.
- Memory, problem-solving, attention, and language abilities.
- Lab tests, such as blood or urine tests.
- Brain scans to look for problems, such as stroke, that may be causing symptoms.
Based on this information, your doctor can almost always tell whether you have dementia. Your doctor will likely be able to tell whether Alzheimer Dementia is the cause of your dementia. However, Alzheimer Dementia can only be diagnosed with certainty after death. That is when the brain is examined under a microscope. The brain of a person who had Alzheimer Dementia will show very distinct changes that only happen when Alzheimer Dementia is the cause of dementia.
If you are worried that you or a loved one might have some of the warning signs of Alzheimer Dementia, talk to your doctor. An early diagnosis will help you get treatment earlier. Also, it will give you time to address questions of care, finances, and legal issues with your family.
Social And Economic Impact
Dementia has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care. In 2015, the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 818 billion, equivalent to 1.1% of global gross domestic product . The total cost as a proportion of GDP varied from 0.2% in low- and middle-income countries to 1.4% in high-income countries.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How would I recognize signs of dementia in myself?
- Is being forgetful a sign of Alzheimer Dementia?
- How does Alzheimer Dementia affect my ability to care for myself or a loved one?
- What are the pros and cons of participating in clinical trials?
- Can brain games help your memory after youve been diagnosed with Alzheimer Dementia?
- If I am caring for a loved one with Alzheimer Dementia, how can I reduce my stress levels?
The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Body
Most of us are aware of Alzheimers diseases impact on the brain. But the brain cell damage characteristic of Alzheimers can also affect the rest of the body. Here are some of the physical symptoms often seen as Alzheimers progresses.
Confusion, forgetfulness and problems communicating the effects of Alzheimers on the brain are well known. But the brain is in control of many body processes and problems with thinking can also affect general health and wellbeing. As the disease develops, Alzheimers can alter the way your loved one looks, moves and functions.
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Early Onset Alzheimers Disease
Although age is the main risk factor for Alzheimers disease, this is not just a condition that affects older adults.
According to the Alzheimers Association, early onset Alzheimers disease affects around 200,000 U.S. adults under the age of 65 years. Many people with this condition are in their 40s or 50s.
In many cases, doctors do not know why younger people develop this condition. Several rare genes can cause the condition. When there is a genetic cause, it is known as familial Alzheimers disease.
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Treatment Of Alzheimer Disease
Safety and supportive measures
Drugs that may improve mental function
Treatment of Alzheimer disease involves general measures to provide safety and support, as for all dementias. Also, certain drugs can help for a while. The person with Alzheimer disease, family members, other caregivers, and the health care practitioners involved should discuss and decide on the best strategy for that person.
Pain and any other disorders or health problems are treated. Such treatment may help maintain function in people with dementia.
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Learn About Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a collection of symptoms and disorders that involve loss of memory and other thinking and intellectual abilities. Dementia is not a specific disorder, but refers to symptoms caused by a number of underlying diseases. Alzheimers disease accounts for 60%-80% of all cases of dementia. Alzheimers disease is a progressive illness caused by damage to the brain that leads to the death of brain cells. The progressive loss of brain cells results in memory loss, changes in thinking, personality alterations, and behavioral problems, among other difficulties. Alzheimers disease usually develops over time and gradually worsens. As the disease progresses, increased support will be required for the people with Alzheimers. In the late stages, help with all daily activities will be necessary.
While some common symptoms of Alzheimers disease exist, it is important to understand that everyone experiences the illness in different ways. While no cure for Alzheimers currently exists, medications have been developed that can temporarily relieve some of the symptoms or slow the progression of memory loss in many people. Some medications can stabilize an individuals symptoms for a year or longer.
Managing Alzheimer’s Disease Behavior
Common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimers include sleeplessness, wandering, agitation, anxiety, and aggression. Scientists are learning why these symptoms occur and are studying new treatments drug and nondrug to manage them. Research has shown that treating behavioral symptoms can make people with Alzheimers more comfortable and makes things easier for caregivers.
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Continue Learning About Dementia
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
How Does Alzheimers Affect The Digestive System
Researchers have found a connection between the microorganisms in our gastrointestinal system to a variety of health conditions including Alzheimers disease. The intestinal flora can produce something called amyloid, which enters the blood circulation and crosses the blood-brain barrier to get into the brain.
The accumulation of amyloid plaques between nerve cells in the brain is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimers disease. There is also a component of bacterial cell membranes known as lipopolysaccharides that can get into the bodys bloodstream and activate inflammatory processes which contribute to Alzheimers.
The risk can be reduced by eating a plant-based diet rich in fruit and vegetables and high in fiber. The Mediterranean Diet is a popular one that has been shown to reduce Alzheimers disease risk. Black and green tea can also help support gut health.
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What Do We Already Know
There is an increasing amount of evidence that the underlying mechanisms behind Alzheimers disease may begin years or even decades before symptoms start to show. Many researchers believe that treating those affected at the earliest stage possible will be the most effective way of slowing down the disease or stopping its progression.
The brains immune system has long been implicated as a key factor in the development of Alzheimers disease, particularly a specialised type of immune cell called microglia. The microglia help to clear debris and toxic materials from the brain. However, it appears that in Alzheimers they do not perform this function correctly or may even contribute directly to the disease process. One theory is that the Alzheimers hallmark amyloid protein activates the microglia, which perform their function properly at first but as more amyloid is produced the system becomes overwhelmed and unregulated. This leads to damage to brain cells.
Some trials for potential Alzheimers disease treatments have attempted to prevent the damaging immune response but so far results have been disappointing. This could be because the drugs are broadly targeting the whole immune system rather than just the faulty microglia.
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