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What’s Alzheimer’s Disease

Conditions That Cause Similar Symptoms

What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

It is also important to note that while Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia, there are other conditions that can also result in similar symptoms. Other causes include dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia, HIV, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

Unhealthy Gums Could Up Your Odds For Dementia

  • Steven Reinberg

MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2022 — Gum disease has far-reaching effects and may increase your odds of developing dementia, a new study suggests.

In a review of 47 previously published studies, researchers in Finland found that tooth loss, deep pockets around teeth in the gums, or bone loss in the tooth sockets was tied to a 21% higher risk of dementia and a 23% higher risk of milder cognitive decline.

Tooth loss itself an indicator of gum, or periodontal, disease was linked to a 23% higher risk of cognitive decline and a 13% higher risk of dementia, according to the study.

“Maintaining adequate periodontal health, including retention of healthy natural teeth, seems to be important also in the context of preventing cognitive decline and dementia,” said lead researcher Sam Asher, from the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio.

Asher noted that the study can’t prove that gum problems actually cause dementia. Still, prevention and treatment of periodontal conditions are particularly important in older adults who are at increased risk for dementia, he said.

“Our results also emphasize the importance of oral health care in people who already have some degree of cognitive decline or dementia. These individuals often develop difficulties with maintaining oral hygiene and using professional oral health services,” Asher said.

And anti-inflammatory therapies are already a treatment target for Alzheimer’s, he said.

More information

Which Medicines Are Used To Treat Alzheimers Disease

There is no cure for Alzheimers disease, but available medications temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and help with behavioral problems that may appear during the course of the disease.

Four medications representing two drug classes are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the symptoms of Alzheimers disease. These drugs are the cholinesterase inhibitors and a NMDA antagonist.

Cholinesterase inhibitors. The cholinesterase inhibitors are all approved to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease . Cholinesterase inhibitors include:

These drugs work by blocking the action of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for destroying acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of the chemicals that helps nerve cells communicate. Researchers believe that reduced levels of acetylcholine cause some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. By blocking the enzyme, these medications increase the concentration of acetylcholine in the brain. This increase is believed to help improve some memory problems and reduce some of the behavioral symptoms seen in patients with Alzheimers disease.

These medications do not cure Alzheimers disease or stop the progression of the disease. The most common side effects of these drugs are nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some people may have loss of appetite, insomnia or bad dreams.

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What Are Some Risk Factors For Alzheimers Disease

Risk factors for the development of Alzheimers disease include:

  • Age. Increasing age is the primary risk factor for developing Alzheimers disease.
  • Genetics . There is a certain gene, apolipoprotein E that is associated with late-onset Alzheimers disease. Other genes have been associated with early-onset Alzheimers disease.

Researchers believe the presence of the last five risk factors mentioned above might reduce the clearance of amyloid protein from the brain, which then increases the risk of developing Alzheimers disease. In particular, the presence of a number of these risk factors at the same time and while the person is in his or her 50s is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimers disease.

There may be some ways to reduce the risk of mental decline. In general, living a healthy lifestyle protects the body from strokes and heart attacks and is believed to also protect the brain from cognitive decline. Scientists cant absolutely prove the cause and effect of the following factors, but studies have shown a positive association.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Stages of Alzheimer

Obesity is one of the biggest health risks, and its been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimers disease.

Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, fish, and whole grains. Limit the amount of red meat you eat. Stay away from processed foods and sugar. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week. Try your best to avoid cigarettes and alcohol.

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Common Forms Of Dementia

There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form and may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia . Dementia may also develop after a stroke or in the context of certain infections such as HIV, harmful use of alcohol, repetitivephysical injuries to the brain or nutritional deficiencies. The boundaries between different forms of dementia are indistinct and mixed forms often co-exist.

Duration Of Alzheimers Disease

The brain changes that result in Alzheimers disease may begin a decade or more before the first symptoms appear, as amyloid plaques and tau tangles start to form, neurons die, and other toxic changes in the brain begin to occur.

After diagnosis, a person with Alzheimers will live, on average, from 4 to 8 years, though some survive for as long as 20 years.

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What Increases The Risk For Dementia

  • AgeThe strongest known risk factor for dementia is increasing age, with most cases affecting those of 65 years and older
  • Family historyThose who have parents or siblings with dementia are more likely to develop dementia themselves.
  • Race/ethnicityOlder African Americans are twice more likely to have dementia than whites. Hispanics 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than whites.
  • Poor heart healthHigh blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking increase the risk of dementia if not treated properly.
  • Traumatic brain injuryHead injuries can increase the risk of dementia, especially if they are severe or occur repeatedly.

How Can You Differentiate Normal Forgetfulness From The Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease? What’s the difference?

Its natural to forget things occasionally, especially as you get older. For instance, you may forget where youve parked your car or a few details from an event. You may even forget someones name and then remember it later.

With Alzheimers however, you may forget what your car looks like or that an event took place altogether. You may not be able to remember ever knowing a person.

If you’re frequently forgetful, you should inform your healthcare provider. They can review your symptoms and conduct tests in order to determine whether it’s due to the normal course of aging or a health condition like Alzheimer’s. Other health conditions can also cause memory loss.

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What Is The Burden Of Alzheimers Disease In The United States

  • Alzheimers disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.2
  • The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
  • The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years or older.3

In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimers disease.1 This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1

In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimers disease were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.4

Death rates for Alzheimers disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline.5 Dementia, including Alzheimers disease, has been shown to be under-reported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimers may be considerably higher.6

How Many Americans Have Alzheimers Disease

Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimers. Many more under age 65 also have the disease. Unless Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. This is because increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.

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Can You Prevent Alzheimers Disease

There is no sure way to prevent Alzheimers disease. However, you can reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease by caring for your health:

  • your heart whats good for your heart is good for your brain so stick to a healthy diet and dont smoke
  • your body regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain so maintain an active lifestyle
  • your mind an active mind helps build brain cells and strengthens their connections so socialise, do things such as puzzles and crosswords, and learn new things, such as a language

Impact On Families And Carers

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In 2019, informal carers spent on average 5 hours per day providing care for people living with dementia. This can be overwhelming . Physical, emotional and financial pressures can cause great stress tofamilies and carers, and support is required from the health, social, financial and legal systems. Fifty percent of the global cost of dementia is attributed to informal care.

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Does Alzheimers Disease Have Stages

Every person with Alzheimers disease experiences it differently. They may experience different symptoms at different times throughout the illness. Sometimes it has a slow progression and sometimes the onset and progression is quite rapid. There are also other factors which can have an impact such as the persons life experiences, their overall mental and physical health as well as access to medical and psychosocial care and support. For these reasons there are no clear stages or reliable patterns of symptoms.

What Are The Treatment Options Available For Alzheimers Disease

There is no cure for Alzheimers disease however there are treatments are available that may help to relieve some of the associated symptoms. They are approved for treatment of dementia but are not effective for everyone.

Cholinesterase inhibitors such as Aricept and Donezepil work by preventing a substance called acetylcholine from being destroyed. Acetylcholine is important for neurotransmission. This medication is most effective in the early to moderate stage of dementia.

Ebixa and Memanta are N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists. They work by blocking glutamate, a neurotransmitter found in high proportions in people with Alzheimers disease. This treatment is most commonly used in the later stages of dementia.

There are also a range of medications used to treat associated conditions which occur commonly in conjunction with dementia. Medications to treat depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and to assist in the management of psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions may also be prescribed.

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What To Do If A Loved One Is Suspicious Of Having Dementia

  • Discuss with loved one. Talk about seeing a medical provider about the observed changes soon. Talk about the issue of driving and always carrying an ID.
  • Medical assessment. Be with a provider that you are comfortable with. Ask about the Medicare Annual Wellness exam.
  • Family Meeting. Start planning, and gather documents like the Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Estate Plan.

What Is Alzheimer Disease

What’s the Difference Between Alzheimers Disease and Dementia?

Alzheimer disease, which affects some older people, is different from everyday forgetting. It is a condition that permanently affects the brain. Over time, the disease makes it harder to remember even basic stuff, like how to tie a shoe.

Eventually, the person may have trouble remembering the names and faces of family members or even who he or she is. This can be very sad for the person and his or her family.

It’s important to know that Alzheimer disease does not affect kids. It usually affects people over 65 years of age. Researchers have found medicines that seem to slow the disease down. And there’s hope that someday there will be a cure.

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What Is Alzheimers Disease

  • Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia.
  • It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
  • Alzheimers disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
  • It can seriously affect a persons ability to carry out daily activities.

What Is Known About Reducing Your Risk Of Alzheimers Disease

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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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease those with the late-onset type symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimers occurs between a persons 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps and tangled bundles of fibers .

These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimers disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimers, too.

This damage initially takes place in parts of the brain involved in memory, including the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. It later affects areas in the cerebral cortex, such as those responsible for language, reasoning, and social behavior. Eventually, many other areas of the brain are damaged.

How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed

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Unfortunately, there is no single test that can confirm Alzheimers disease. A diagnosis comes after careful assessment. This may involve:

  • a detailed medical history
  • urine and blood tests
  • medical imaging, such as an MRI scan to assess shrinking of the brain

After eliminating other possible causes of symptoms , a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimers can be made.

An early diagnosis allows your doctor to work out if there is another cause of your symptoms that may be treatable. If a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease is most likely, you can start to discuss medical treatment and further assistance to help slow the degenerative process.

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Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging

No, many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as:

  • Occasionally misplacing car keys
  • Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
  • Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
  • Forgetting the most recent events

Normally, knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact.

Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Alzheimers

More than six million people in the United States are living with Alzheimers, and 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimers or another dementia, according to the Alzheimers Association

As the number of older Americans rises, reflecting advances in medicine and the aging of the baby boomers, the number of people with Alzheimers is expected to more than double to as many as 13 million by 2050, barring any significant medical breakthroughs.

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If One Of My Parents Had A Type Of Dementia Does That Mean I’ll Develop It Too

Researchers are exploring the role of genetics in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, but most agree the disease is likely caused by a variety of factors. The National Institute on Aging offers a Fact Sheet on Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics.

Researchers here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are studying the interplay between genetic and lifestyle risk factors. Much of this research is done through the Wisconsin ADRC and the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention .

Help Your Brain With Supplements

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There are many supplements you can take to help support brain health.

Vitamin B12: This vitamin is important for proper brain function. Be sure to add B12-rich foods to your dietor take a vitamin supplement.

Vitamin E: This vitamin is essential for brain health. You can get it from vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Its also available in supplement form.

Folic acid: This B vitamin is important for healthy brain function. Its found in fortified cereals and bread, spinach, and beans. You can also use a supplement.

Ginkgo biloba: This herb has been used for centuries to treat cognitive decline.

Fish oil: Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acidswhich can improve your brain health.

Herbal remedies: Herbal supplements are often promoted as natural remedies for brain health. However, not all of them have been proven to be effective. Consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.

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