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The Causes And Effects Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Symptoms of vascular dementia depend on what part of the brain is affected and to what extent. Like Alzheimer’s disease, the symptoms of vascular dementia are often mild for a long time. They may include:

Symptoms that suddenly get worse often signal a stroke. Doctors look for symptoms that progress in noticeable stages to diagnose vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s, by comparison, progresses at a slow, steady pace. Another clue is impaired coordination or balance. In vascular dementia, problems walking or balancing can happen early. With Alzheimer’s, these symptoms usually occur late in the disease.

Alzheimers Disease Causes Side Effects And Treatments At Naturalpediacom

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Jhoanna Robinson

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Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia among the elderly in the U.S. and other countries around the world. It is a slowly progressive disease of the brain that seriously impairs a persons ability to carry out even the most basic everyday tasks.

Alzheimers starts slow. It first impacts the parts of the brain that handle language, memory, and thought. Alzheimers disease-afflicted people may not remember things that have happened recently, or the names and identities of people that they know. Then it creates disturbances in reasoning, planning, and perception.

A related issue, which is called mild cognitive impairment , gives rise to more memory problems than what is usually normal for people of the same age. Most people with MCI will acquire Alzheimers when they get older.

The symptoms of Alzheimers get worse over time. They usually start at the age of 60, and usually affect around 50 percent of people over the age of 85. The main risk factor for Alzheimers disease is increased age. A persons risk of developing Alzheimers disease increases if he or she has a family member with the same affliction.

A majority of people with Down syndrome are susceptible to the symptoms of Alzheimers disease when they reach the age of 40.

Are There Dna Tests To Determine Risk For Alzheimers Disease

The role DNA plays in Alzheimers disease risk is complicated, and you should discuss your decision to take a test, as well as the results, with a health care provider. At UW Health, genetic testing is available only to patients with a first-degree relative with early-onset Alzheimers disease . These tests look for rare genetic mutations associated with risk for early-onset Alzheimers disease. Researchers have found associations between genetic variants of the apolipoprotein E gene and risk for later-onset Alzheimers disease . APOE comes in several different forms, or alleles. Each person inherits two APOE alleles, one from each biological parent. APOE genetic tests are available through private companies that offer direct-to-consumer testing. Please be aware that when you seek testing through a private company, you are sharing your genetic information with a business. Review carefully the terms and conditions regarding what these companies can do with your genetic information. An APOE genetic test will not tell you if you will get dementia. In fact, only 40% of people who develop Alzheimers disease carry the APOE allele associated with increased risk for the disease. The Dementia Matters podcast episode DNA Is Not Your Destiny: Genetics and Alzheimers Disease Risk offers insight into the genetic and environmental factors that play a role in Alzheimers disease risk. You can listen to the episode or read the transcript of the interview on our website.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease

Symptoms of Alzheimers disease vary from person to person and worsen over time. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Memory loss. This is usually one of the first symptoms of Alzheimers disease.
  • Putting objects in odd places
  • Confusion about events, time and place
  • Repeating questions

For more information on the stage of disease, click here.

Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers Disease: Stages, Sign and diagnosis Coding  Passionate in ...

At this stage, there is no cure and no treatment that can stop the Alzheimers disease progressing.Medications are available that can help to stabilise or slow the decline in memory and thinking abilities for a time, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Other medications are available that might help with secondary symptoms like depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances.It is important to remember that all medications have side effects. People with Alzheimers disease may take a number of medications and your doctor can help you to understand how the different medications might interact with each other.Non-medication therapies, staying active and socially connected, as well as managing stress, can help people with Alzheimers disease. Education and professional support are important for people with Alzheimers disease and their families and carers.

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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.

How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed

Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person who is having memory problems has Alzheimers disease.

To diagnose Alzheimers, doctors may:

  • Ask the person and a family member or friend questions about overall health, use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality.
  • Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language.
  • Carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem.
  • Perform brain scans, such as computed tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , or positron emission tomography , to support an Alzheimers diagnosis or to rule out other possible causes for symptoms.

These tests may be repeated to give doctors information about how the persons memory and other cognitive functions are changing over time.

People with memory and thinking concerns should talk to their doctor to find out whether their symptoms are due to Alzheimers or another cause, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinsons disease, sleep disturbances, side effects of medication, an infection, or another type of dementia. Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible.

In addition, an early diagnosis provides people with more opportunities to participate in clinical trials or other research studies testing possible new treatments for Alzheimers.

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How Alzheimer’s Causes Death

In late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, people become extremely confused and disoriented. The behavior of someone with late stage Alzheimer’s may become more agitated and restless, while other persons experience withdrawal and apathy. Sometimes, people with later stage dementia cry and call out. Eventually, they lose the ability to communicate, and they may not respond at all.

Additionally, people in the late stages are unable to care for themselves, becoming bedbound and completely dependent on others for their activities of daily living. Their ability to be continent of bowel and bladder declines.

Their appetite decreases as well, and eventually, they lose the ability to swallow, leading to poor nutrition and a high risk of aspiration. Aspiration, where a person’s food goes “down the wrong tube” when they swallow it, greatly increases the risk of pneumonia developing because they’re not able to fully cough and clear the food out of their esophagus and then it settles into their lungs.

Under these difficult conditions, it’s not hard to imagine how vulnerable people with late-stage dementia become, sometimes succumbing to infections, pressure sores, and pneumonia. One study found that half of all people with dementia admitted to a hospital for pneumonia or a hip fracture died within six months of leaving the hospital.

Other factors that impact the death rate in Alzheimer’s disease include advanced age, increased falls, and delirium.

Six Tips For Caregivers

What is Alzheimer’s disease? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Explore pain as a trigger.

Don’t argue or try to convince.

Try to accept behaviors as a reality of the disease.

Seek help to avoid fatigue

Adapted from Alzheimer’s Association

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved four medicines for Alzheimer’s disease. They may help delay or slow symptoms of the disease. Several medications called cholinesterase inhibitors , Exelon® and Aricept® ) are prescribed for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The medication Namenda® is prescribed to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. It can help delay some symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s and allow individuals to maintain some functions a little longer than they would without the medication. A fifth medication is called Namzaric it is a combination of donepezil and memantine.

Patients and families may also benefit from support groups and counseling. Family members can learn ways to help their relative manage the illness and they can learn coping skills to lessen the stress of caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s disease.

from the Alzheimer’s Association and from APA.)

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Is It Something I Ate

What about nutrition? We have seen recent reports linking prolonged cognitive health with adherence to a brain-healthy diets, such as the so-called Mediterranean-style diets, which emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, healthy fats rather than saturated ones, and fiber.2 The connection between diets high in saturated fats and the development of vascular disease suggests one explanation for nutrition’s influence on the development of AD. Lack of specific nutrients such as vitamin B12 or more global malnutrition are seen in people with AD, but it’s not clear whether poor diet is an effect rather than cause of cognitive decline.

Causes Of Alzheimer’s Disease

The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells that connect to each other. In Alzheimers disease, connections between these cells are lost. This is because proteins build up and form abnormal structures called plaques and tangles. Eventually nerve cells die and brain tissue is lost.

The brain also contains important chemicals that help to send signals between cells. People with Alzheimers have less of some of these chemical messengers in their brain, so the signals are not passed on as well. There are some drug treatments for Alzheimers disease that can help boost the levels of some chemical messengers in the brain. This can help with some of the symptoms.

Alzheimers is a progressive disease. This means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms develop, and they also get worse.More than 520,000 people in the UK have dementia caused by Alzheimers disease and this figure is set to rise.

Dementia and the brain

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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.

Statistics

What Causes Alzheimers Disease

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In recent years, scientists have made tremendous progress in better understanding Alzheimers and the momentum continues to grow. Still, scientists dont yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimers, a genetic mutation may be the cause. Late-onset Alzheimers arises from a complex series of brain changes that may occur over decades. The causes probably include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimers may differ from person to person.

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What To Do If You Suspect Alzheimers Disease

Getting checked by your healthcare provider can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to Alzheimers disease, or a more treatable conditions such as a vitamin deficiency or a side effect from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis also provides opportunities for you and your family to consider financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.

Medications To Treat The Underlying Alzheimer’s Disease Process

Aducanumab is the first disease-modifying therapy approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimers disease. The medication helps to reduce amyloid deposits in the brain and may help slow the progression of Alzheimers, although it has not yet been shown to affect clinical outcomes such as progression of cognitive decline or dementia. A doctor or specialist will likely perform tests, such as a PET scan or analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, to look for evidence of amyloid plaques and help decide if the treatment is right for the patient.

Aducanumab was approved through the FDAs Accelerated Approval Program. This process requires an additional study after approval to confirm the anticipated clinical benefit. If the follow-up trial fails to verify clinical benefit, the FDA may withdraw approval of the drug. Results of the phase 4 clinical trial for aducanumab are expected to be available by early 2030.

Several other disease-modifying medications are being tested in people with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimers as potential treatments.

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What Is The Greatest Risk Factor For Alzheimers Disease

The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimers and other dementias is increasing age, but these disorders are not a normal part of aging. While age increases risk, it is not a direct cause of Alzheimers. Most individuals with the disease are 65 and older. After age 65, the risk of Alzheimers doubles every five years.

What Is Known About Reducing Your Risk Of Alzheimers Disease

What is dementia? Alzheimer’s Research UK

The science on risk reduction is quickly evolving, and major breakthroughs are within reach. For example, there is growing evidence that people who adopt healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise and blood pressure management can lower their risk of dementia. There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for subjective cognitive decline. To learn more about the current state of evidence on dementia risk factors and the implications for public health, please read the following summaries on Cardiovascular Health, Exercise, Diabetes and Obesity, Traumatic Brain Injury , Tobacco and Alcohol, Diet and Nutrition, Sleep, Sensory Impairment, and Social Engagement or the Compiled Report .

Aging

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Effects Of Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimers disease is not a curable condition and progressively worsens over time. The long-term effects of Alzheimers disease can be devastating to both loved ones and the individual. Some of the long-term effects of Alzheimers disease include:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Inability to communicate symptoms of illnesses
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Increased vulnerability to developing pneumonia and other infections
  • Injuries due to falling
  • Difficulty controlling bowel and bladder functioning
  • A sense of loss of self

Co-Occurring Disorders

Down Syndrome And Alzheimers Disease

People with Down syndrome have a third copy of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two copies. This genetic change causes a collection of characteristics, including intellectual disability and some common physical traits.The APP gene that leads to the production of the beta-amyloid protein present in Alzheimers plaques is located on chromosome 21. This means that people with Down syndrome make one and a half times the amount of APP and, as a consequence, more beta-amyloid. This appears to be the cause of the earlier appearance of the brain changes typical of Alzheimers disease in people with Down syndrome.

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Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimers disease typically starts slowly and the symptoms can be very subtle in the early stages. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more noticeable and interfere with daily life. The disease affects each person differently and the symptoms vary.Common symptoms include:

  • persistent and frequent memory loss, especially of recent events
  • vagueness in everyday conversation
  • being less able to plan, problem-solve, organise and think logically
  • language difficulties such as finding the right word and understanding conversations
  • apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
  • taking longer to do routine tasks
  • becoming disoriented, even in well-known places
  • inability to process questions and instructions
  • deterioration of social skills
  • emotional unpredictability
  • changes in behaviour, personality and mood.

Symptoms vary as the disease progresses and different areas of the brain are affected. A persons abilities may fluctuate from day to day, or even within the one day, and can become worse in times of stress, fatigue or ill health.The stages of Alzheimers disease progress from mild Alzheimers disease to moderate Alzheimers disease and then severe Alzheimers disease. During severe Alzheimers disease, people need continuous care. The rate of progression between these stages differs between people.

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