What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder. It is a progressive condition that causes issues with memory, cognition, and behavior.
It was first discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. He examined the brain of a woman who had died following symptoms including memory loss, language problems, and altered behavior. He found unusual clumps in her brain, known as amyloid plaques, as well as tangles in her brain fibers that are some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.
Since this initial discovery, many other complex changes in the brain have been discovered among people suffering from disease, including the loss of connection between neurons.
What Are The Early Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Now that we’ve discussed the scientific definitions, let’s turn to the warning signs. According to the experts at the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 major early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s to watch out for, and they are as follows:
How Genetics Impact Your Risk Of Alzheimers
There are certain genes/mutations that increase your risk of Alzheimers, and a few very rare genes/mutations that may directly cause Alzheimers disease.
These extremely rare genes that directly cause Alzheimers are called deterministic genes. Those that only increase your chances of developing Alzheimers are called risk genes.
Experts do not recommend routine genetic testing to diagnose Alzheimers. There may be very rare genes that may directly cause early-onset Alzheimers, but genetic testing cannot give you a 100% accurate diagnosis or prediction.
The most common gene associated with higher disease risk is the APOE-e4 allele. Interestingly, individuals with APOE-e2 variation have a risk for the development of Alzheimers.
Does Alzheimers run in the family? Alzheimers runs in the family, in a sense. Those who have a first-degree relative with the disease are at increased risk of developing Alzheimers. This does not equate to a 100% guarantee that youll develop the disease. But genetics seem to partially contribute to developing Alzheimers.
Can you get Alzheimers if it doesnt run in your family? You can get Alzheimers if it doesnt run in your family. The causes of Alzheimers disease are not purely genetic. Age is the biggest risk factor for developing the disease. Everyone older than 65 years old is at risk of developing Alzheimers. However, having no family history of dementia may decrease your risk of dementia.
You May Like: Alzheimer’s Lack Of Neurotransmitter
Can Vascular Dementia Be Inherited
In most cases, vascular dementia itself is not inherited. However, the underlying health issues that sometimes contribute to this condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, may be passed on from one generation to another.
Other than in a few, very rare cases, parents cannot pass on vascular dementia to their children. However, a parent may pass certain genes that increase the risk of developing vascular dementia.
The sort of genes that increase the risk of vascular dementia are often the same ones that increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
For this reason, having a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well and staying physically active, are probably more important for preventing vascular dementia than they are in Alzheimer’s disease.
A Dementia Friend By Sarah Merriman
Sarah Merrimans poem is filled with heartfelt lessons about what its like to live with early Dementia.
Please just stop and chat a while.Youll cheer me up and make my day,Maybe, well laugh at things I say.For theres still humour to be found,It is not doom and gloom, all round.
Although your loved one or friend may be forgetful, they can still enjoy life and still love to have visitors, yet they need patience, and most of allthey need friends to be supportive.
Also Check: Does Diet Coke Cause Alzheimer’s
Rhoslc: Meredith Marks Father Dies Of Alzheimer’s Disease & She Raises Awareness
Meredith Marks took to Instagram on Tuesday and revealed her father passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s for the latter part of his life.
Meredith Marks From The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City revealed the night before the final reunion episode that her father had passed away from Alzheimer’s. Her father had been suffering from the diseases during the latter part of his life. Meredith never spoke of her father and his Alzheimer’s diagnosis on the show, nor did she bring it up at the reunion. Meredith had been slowly losing her father, and no one even knew.
The 49-year-old became known to Housewives fans after starring in the first season of the new Bravo series. Meredith quickly became a fan favorite, as fans loved her uninterested attitude and how she would “disengage” from a conversation. She also had a bit of mystery to her, especially when it came to Meredith’s . They had been on the verge of divorce before joining the show. Meredith and Seth managed to keep their relationship together once filming was done. Now Meredith is going through a loss fans did not see coming.
Related: RHOSLC: Whitney Rose Opens Up About Her Friendship With Jen Shah
Genes Heredity And Alzheimers Disease
Medical News Today explains that our genes determine what we look like, how we behave and how we survive. They can make us susceptible to certain diseases and conditions, like Alzheimers, depending on whether we develop those conditions.
How our genes interact with each other and on environmental factors has a large role in determining if we are likely to develop the disease, as does inherited traits, according to Healthline. People whose immediate family members have Alzheimers have been found to be at a higher risk of developing the disease.
Scientists believe Alzheimers results from a combination of genetic and hereditary traits, meaning some of these factors we can change, but others, such as our genes, we cannot. Here are two categories of genes that researchers have linked to Alzheimers:
You May Like: Alzheimer’s And Neurotransmitters
Their Genes Put Them At High Risk Of Alzheimers So Theyre Experimenting On Themselves
That plague on the family tree stirs dread among the next generation of Chastains but it also has inspired Lowmans daughters to rally their relatives to participate in Emorys research.
We were told in our lifetime we might not have the answer or a cure, said Dunn, who is 58. But were thinking about our children and grandchildren.
The Chastain familys DNA gives scientists perhaps their best shot at finding the genetic origins of late-onset Alzheimers, a goal that has eluded them for decades.
Researchers have found gene mutations strongly linked to early-onset Alzheimers, in part by studying a large Colombian family with hundreds of affected individuals its symptoms start when people are in their 40s and 50s. But no such gene has been found for the disease that strikes after age 65 which accounts for more than 90 percent of cases.
A gene called APOE-e4 modestly increases the risk of late-onset Alzheimers in some people, but it isnt enough by itself to cause disease. Instead, the risk seems to come from a complicated combination of gene variants, or mutations.
If we can identify a new gene, it could have profound impact on understanding the disease, said Levey, a neurologist and director of Emorys Alzheimers Disease Research Center. Genetic sequencing of the Chastains has identified some promising targets, but has not yet produced a pivotal result, he said.
If we can identify a new gene, it could have profound impact on understanding the disease.
More Alzheimers Research Is Needed
Experts continue to research the complex biological and environmental factors that influence Alzheimers disease, but, if you are concerned about your risks, talk to your doctor about your family history and other health concerns that you may have.
Early detection is crucial to getting the maximum benefits of treatment, and it can give you more time and more say in planning for your future.
Has heredity been a factor in your loved ones Alzheimers diagnosis? Please share your story in the comments below.
You May Like: Bobby Knight Health Update
Dementia And Alzheimers Poems For A Eulogy
For more information on how to plan a memorial service or help on how to write a eulogy for specific members of your family, Join Cake today. Our experienced team is here to help you with all of your end-of-life planning needs.
Dementia Affects The Person Diagnosed But Also Raises Fears For Siblings And Children Here Are The Facts
After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, families face fears and difficult medical decisions.
Alzheimer’s disease represents a personal health crisis, but it’s also a family concern. What does it mean for your children or siblings if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? What does it mean for you if a close relative develops the condition?
“People think that if their dad or aunt or uncle had Alzheimer’s disease, they are doomed. But, no, that’s not true,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Even though family history adds to the overall risk, age still usually trumps it quite a bit. It means your risk is higher, but it’s not that much higher, if you consider the absolute numbers.”
Don’t Miss: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Other Rare Types Of Dementia
Other rare types of dementia that can be passed down through the family include Huntingtons disease and Familial Prion disease. These diseases have a 50/50 chance of being passed on because they are caused by a single faulty dominant gene.
This means that, if you inherit a healthy gene from one parent and a faulty gene from the other parent, the faulty one will always be the one that is used because its the dominant gene.
For more information, care and support services, please refer to the Huntingtons Disease Association or the National Prion Clinic at UCL.
How Much Do These Risk Factors Change The Risk
Lets take the example of APOE. APOE is a gene that comes in a number of different variants , APOE e2, APOE e3 and APOE e4, and you receive one allele from each parent. If you have one APOE e4 allele, you have a higher risk of developing Alzheimers disease. If you have two APOE e4 alleles your risk is even higher, but its still not a certainty, this is reflected in their position in the diagram above. It might help to understand this in simple numbers.
According to one study3 if we take 100 men aged 85, we would expect 10 to develop AD during their lifetime. The figure for women is slightly higher, 14 out of 100. However, if we take a group of 100 men who have one APOE e4 allele and one APOE e3 allele we would expect 23 of them to develop AD. Again its slightly higher for women, at 30 out of 100. The numbers are even higher for people who have two copies of the APOE e4 allele , but having these genes still doesnt completely determine whether you develop Alzheimers disease or not. Having two APOE e4 alleles isnt all that common, between 10% and 30% of the population may have this particular genotype4,5. The other variants of APOE dont increase your risk, in fact studies suggest the APOE e2 allele is slightly protective.
Read Also: Alzheimer’s Disease Color Ribbon
Genes And Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia , originally called Picks disease, is a rarer type of dementia mostly affecting people under the age of 65 years. The symptoms of FTD can be quite varied but include changes that mostly affect behaviour or language. There are different types of FTD, and these are likely to have different causes.
Some people with FTD have a family history of dementia and the condition may be inherited in some of these families. For behavioural variant FTD, a third to half of people could have a family history. This figure is thought to be much lower for other types of FTD.
Overall, around one in ten cases of FTD are thought to be caused by a faulty gene passed down in families. Several genes have been found that can cause these inherited types of FTD, including:
Mutations in the MAPT gene can cause the tau protein to behave abnormally, forming toxic clumps that can damage brain cells. We still need to understand more about how mutations in progranulin and C9ORF72 cause the disease.
The C9ORF72 gene can cause people to develop motor neurone disease, FTD or both conditions, and may affect members of the same family differently.
In cases of FTD that are not caused by faulty genes, the risk factors are not yet fully understood, and research is ongoing.
Is genetic testing available for frontotemporal dementia?
His Funeral By Jeff Worley
“His Funeral” is a reminder of how people who witness the long struggles of another can seemingly accept death a little easier, as though death is a relief.
The victim was a veteran held in a WW2 German POW camp, only later to be imprisoned by the disease. Upon his death, the poet writes,
My father was finally unconfused,the noose of Alzheimer’s snapped.Around him the malodorous rosesand long shafts of lilies.
Also Check: Early Stage Dementia Treatment
Testing For Familial Alzheimers Disease
The decision to undergo testing for FAD is very complex and the advantages and disadvantages must be carefully considered. The test does not produce a relative risk of acquiring the dementia, but is a definitive prediction of whether a person will get a profound and progressive illness in ones middle years. The test can only be completed with the informed consent of the person being tested. No one should ever be pressured to have such a test.
Knowing that you are carrying the gene may help some people plan for the future. It enables them to consider future lifestyle choices and to let their wishes be known to someone they trust. However, given that no cure is available an individual has to consider whether they want to know that they will develop dementia at some time in the future.
To help people consider these issues specialised genetic counselling is essential. The doctor can provide details of this service. In the future, when preventive treatments for Alzheimers disease become available, there may be increased reasons to seek testing.
Thoughts On How Do I Answer My Mom When She Asks To See Her Deceased Parents
My mom will occasionally ask about my dad who has been gone 11-1/2 years. I just say he is probably home and she is satisfied. Trying to get them to understand when they just cant grasp it is hard on us but try to agree and not argue or teach.
My dad was so sweet. He would not get angry. For the last few months he kept walking around and around the care unit -which also had an outdoors. He would open every cabinet and door. One day I asked if he was unhappy there because he would not stop and I was afraid that he wanted to leave and he said Im looking for mom and dad. When will they be here. I told him they would be here soon and then asked him questions about his parents. He basically withered away because he was looking and wouldnt sit down for dinner. He died within 4 days when he was too frail to walk. But I am sure that he found his mom and dad when he passes.
My mom had a special relationship with her brother in law, Bob. My father was a POW for 19 months in WWII. If there was any news he was sent across the street with the news. When they got married and moved a town away he would visit. My Uncle was deceased. My mom came to live with me having Alzheimers. She wanted to know why he didnt visit. Would get mad that I would not go get him. Told me I was lazy. Would walk away, make her tea and try to settle her with a tv program. Most times she would fall asleep. Not an easy situation. Siblings can never understand the tension you lived under.
Also Check: Where To Buy Jelly Drops For Dementia Patients