How Alzheimers Is Different
At its onset, Alzheimers tends to affect more of your learning and memory than other types of dementia, which might be more likely to impact your planning or language. In the brain of a person with Alzheimers disease, there are buildups of beta amyloid protein fragments between nerve cells as well as tangles of the protein tau inside cells. Scientists dont know exactly how these plaques and tangles contribute to Alzheimers disease, but some believe they throw off communication between nerve cells and interfere with normal cell processes, according to the Alzheimers Association. As the disease progresses and more of the brain is affected, a person may experience behavior changes, confusion, delusions, and difficulty speaking or walking. Other types of dementia can progress differently, depending on what parts of the brain are affected.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimers
Memory problems are often one of the first signs of Alzheimers. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may include problems with:
- Word-finding, or having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age.
- Vision and spatial issues, like awareness of the space around them.
- Impaired reasoning or judgment, which can impact decisions.
Other symptoms may be changes in the persons behavior, including:
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks.
- Repeating questions.
- Trouble handling money and paying bills.
- Wandering and getting lost.
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places.
- Mood and personality changes.
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression.
Causes Of Alzheimer’s Disease
While Alzheimer’s disease has been proven to cause dementia, scientists are still struggling to identify a particular cause of the disease. However, several factors have been linked to the development of the condition. The most common include:
- Age: Alzheimer’s disease is most likely to occur in older people. In most cases, symptoms of the condition will begin to show in your 60s.
- Genetics: Some research shows that having a family history of the condition can increase your risk of developing the disease.
- Environmental and lifestyle factors: Research shows that maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and social interactions can help reduce the risk of developing the condition, especially as you age.
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
Causes Of Alzheimers Disease
Researchers are rapidly learning more about the chemical changes that damage brain cells in Alzheimers disease. Apart from the few with familial Alzheimers disease, it is not known why some people develop Alzheimers disease and others do not. It is likely that a number of factors contribute to development of the disease, including environmental, genetic and health factors.Alzheimers disease is characterised by specific changes in the brain that include the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles . An abnormal build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid causes amyloid plaques to form outside the brain cells. Inside the brain cells, another protein called tau builds up and causes neurofibrillary tangles.These protein accumulations disrupt messages within the brain because they damage connections between brain cells. The brain cells eventually die and brain volume shrinks. These brain changes occur gradually and actually begin many years before the symptoms of Alzheimers disease occur. The brain is able to compensate for the early damage, but eventually the damage becomes too great and brain function is affected.
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Getting Help With Dementia And Alzheimer’s
There is no known cure for most types of dementia, but treating the set of symptoms can improve quality of life. Doctors can prescribe antipsychotics and medications for sleep changes, depression, and memory loss. People with dementia can also practice at-home remedies to boost overall brain health. Dieting and exercise can help, as with vitamin supplements and cutting back on smoking or drinking . Environmental factors like air pollution can also play a role, so avoiding these types of spaces can also help to mitigate the progression of dementia.
Some dementia cases can actually be reversed. If the dementia is caused by a curable disease or infection, then treating the source can lead to a return to normal cognitive functioning. The same can be said for dementia caused by problems with metabolism, endocrine, nutrition, medication, and other non-permanent issues.
How Does Peanut Butter Detect Alzheimers
The researchers discovered that those who had an impaired sense of smell in the left nostril had early-stage Alzheimers. They noted that the participants needed to be an average of 10 centimeters closer to the peanut butter container in order to smell it from their left nostril compared to their right nostril.
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Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
Dementia Vs Alzheimers Disease
Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of diseases that are characterized by cognitive declineand then Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia under that umbrella, says Zaldy S. Tan, M.D., M.P.H., director of theCedars-Sinai Health System Memory and Aging Program. So while theyre related, theyre not interchangeable terms. Dementia as a whole is tricky because theres no questionnaire that you can fill out and say, Oh, I have this type of dementia, says Dr. Tan. Its very complex and the presentations vary from person to person so if you have two people and they both have Alzheimers disease, their presentation may be quite different.
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The Seven Stages Of Dementia
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.
How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed
Healthcare providers use several methods to determine if a person with memory issues has Alzheimers disease. This is because many other conditions, especially neurological conditions, can cause dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimers.
In the beginning steps of an Alzheimers diagnosis, a provider will ask questions to better understand your health and daily living. Your provider may also ask someone close to you, like a family member or caregiver, for insight into your symptoms. Theyll ask about:
- Overall health.
- Ability to carry out daily activities.
- Changes in mood, behavior and personality.
A provider will also:
- Perform a physical exam and a neurological exam.
- Perform a mental status exam, which includes tests to assess memory, problem-solving, attention, basic math and language.
- Order standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.
- Order brain imaging tests, such as a brain CT, brain MRI or positron emission tomography, to support an Alzheimers diagnosis or to rule out other possible conditions.
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What We Can Do To Help:
Using a Montessori approach focuses on the person behind the disease allowing for an environment that is conducive to reducing responsive behaviours of the disease such as repetitive questioning , anxiety and constant request for attention. By providing individualized activities that caters to the needs and interests of each person, DementiaSupport improves the quality of life of the person living with this disease. Our kits and curriculum easily help any caregiver from long term care to individuals at home on how to engage and keep a person with dementia busy and engaged in LIFE!
Contact us for more information about how to get your Montessori activities.
/6symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease
The symptoms of the disease appear long after the brain begins to damage. It is only diagnosed later when the symptoms become more prominent. Even then it is not possible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive.
Early signs and symptoms of this condition include:
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Do I Tell My Mother She Has Alzheimers
Whatever the diagnosis, the person has a right to know. If your mom has been experiencing memory loss or other symptoms associated with Alzheimers disease, then most likely she intuitively suspects something is wrong and, therefore, has a right to know the truth and be fully informed of the situation.
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What Causes Early
Experts dont know what triggers the start of Alzheimer disease. They suspect that 2 proteins damage and kill nerve cells. Fragments of one protein, beta-amyloid, build up and are called plaques. Twisted fibers of another protein, tau, are called tangles. Almost everyone develops plaques and tangles as they age. But those with Alzheimer disease develop many, many more. At first, these plaques and tangles damage the memory areas of the brain. Over time, they affect more areas of the brain. Experts dont know why some people develop so many plaques and tangles, or how they spread and damage the brain.
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Where To Get Help
- Your local community health service
- Your local council
- National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
- Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
- My Aged Care Tel. 1800 200 422
- Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
- Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
- Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Tel 1800 052 222
- Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimers disease vary based on the stage of the condition. In general, the symptoms of AD involve a gradual decline in some, most or all of the following:
- Understanding visual form and space relationship.
- Behavior and personality.
People with memory loss or other signs of Alzheimers may have difficulty recognizing their mental decline. These signs may be more obvious to loved ones. Anyone experiencing dementia-like symptoms should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Symptoms of the mild stage of Alzheimers dementia
Symptoms of AD become noticeable in the mild stage. The most common early symptom is forgetting newly learned information, especially recent events, places and names.
Other signs and symptoms of mild Alzheimers include:
- Having difficulty finding the right words to express thoughts.
- Losing or misplacing objects more than usual.
- Having difficulty making plans or organizing.
- Having difficulty problem-solving.
- Taking longer to complete routine daily tasks.
Most people in the mild stage of AD have no problem recognizing familiar faces and can usually travel to familiar places.
Symptoms of the moderate stage of Alzheimers
Moderate Alzheimers is typically the longest stage and can last many years. People in the moderate stage of Alzheimers often require care and assistance.
People in this stage may:
Symptoms of the severe stage of Alzheimers
In the severe stage of Alzheimers disease, the person often:
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Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain
In people with Alzheimers disease, brain cells die and connections between brain cells may break down. One of the hallmark symptoms is abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaques and tangles.
Plaques are dense clusters of protein that can block communication between neurons. Tangles are proteins that twist together that lead to the death of healthy brain cells.
In advanced Alzheimers, the brain shows significant shrinkage. Changes in the brain may occur a or more before symptoms start.
Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists can make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time.
The symptoms of Alzheimers and dementia can overlap, but there can be some differences.
Both conditions can cause:
- behavioral changes
- difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease
Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis.
Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.
What Are The Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease
Early on, Alzheimers disease may be hard to notice. The first signs are usually memory loss and difficulty finding the right words for everyday things. However, many people have trouble with memory but dont have Alzheimers so its important to visit a doctor to work out the exact cause of memory problems.
Other common symptoms of Alzheimers disease include:
- vagueness in daily conversation
Alzheimers disease is sometimes classified into 3 stages, based on the severity of symptoms:
Symptoms will progress differently between people, depending on what areas of the brain are affected. A persons symptoms may also change from day to day and can become worse with stress, illness or tiredness.
Dementia And Alzheimers Treatment
Dementia may be categorized as either reversible or irreversible, with reversible dementia being able to be treated and potentially cured. There are no cures for progressive dementias, but the symptoms can be managed with therapy. Alzheimers disease is irreversible and has no cure. Since progressive dementias like Alzheimers disease share common symptoms, many of the treatments for Alzheimers disease and other dementias are similar.
Managing The Effects Of Alzheimers Disease
Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimers disease, there are some medications that may help with some of the symptoms and make life a little easier. These medications may also slow the progression of Alzheimers disease for a short while in some people, but it does not prevent or cure the condition.
- People with Alzheimers may be prescribed a type of medication called cholinesterase inhibitors. There are three options: Donepezil, Rivastigmine or Galantamine
- These medications may improve concentration, which helps with memory, thinking and language. These effects may last for approximately six to 12 months, although there is now some evidence showing the benefits may last a lot longer. They support the communication between the nerve cells in the brain by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine
- Another medication called memantine may also be prescribed in the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimers disease alongside one of the above medications. This medication blocks the effects of excess glutamate in the brain. Memantine may help with memory, reasoning, language and attention.
How Long Do People With Alzheimers Live
The prognosis for Alzheimers disease is generally poor. The course of the disease varies from person to person. But on average, people with AD over 65 die within four to eight years of the diagnosis. However, some people may live up to 20 years after the first symptoms appear.
Common causes of death include:
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What Causes Alzheimers Disease
Apart from the few people with familial Alzheimers disease, it is not known why some people develop Alzheimers disease and others do not.
Health and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the development of Alzheimers disease include:
- physical inactivity
- changes in ability to plan, problem solve, organise and think logically
- taking longer to do routine tasks
- language and comprehension difficulties, such as problems finding the right word
- increasing disorientation in time, place and person
- problems in becoming motivated and initiating tasks
- changes in behaviour, personality and mood.
Someone experiencing symptoms may be unable to recognise any changes in themselves. Often a family member or friend of someone affected will observe changes in a person.
Symptoms vary as the condition progresses and as different areas of the brain are affected. A persons abilities may fluctuate from day to day, or even within the same day. Symptoms can worsen in times of stress, fatigue or ill-health.