Alzheimer’s is a Form of Dementia

What happens as you get older? What things occur physically, emotionally, and mentally as you leave your youth and adulthood and enter into the elderly stage of life? As humans progress into elderly hood, they have a greater risk of getting conditions such as arthritis, kidney and bladder problems, glaucoma, and alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

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Alzheimer’s is the common cause of dementia; Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. Alzheimer’s is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantees a person will develop the disease less than 5 percent of the time.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that typically affects those over 65. Statistically, women are more likely than men to develop Alzheimer’s disease, in part essentially because they live longer. Six percent of women over 71 years old develop the brain disorder, only 11 percent of men of the same age are afflicted with it. Research also shows that in the U.S. African-Americans and Hispanics are about twice as likely and one and a half times more likely than older whites to get Alzheimer’s and/or other forms of dementia. Someone is more likely to get alzheimer because of their age, family history and genetics, down syndrome, sex, mild cognitive impairment, past head trauma, lifestyle, and heart health.

Alzheimer’s disease damages and kills brain cells; A brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease, has many fewer cells, and many fewer connections among surviving cells than a healthy brain does. People have a greater risk of getting the disease after the age of 65. The risk of dementia doubles after the age of 60. When someone gets the diseases before the age of 65, it is called early-onset alzheimer’s. About 5 percent develop symptoms before the age of 65 and 200,000 Americans have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. Symptoms that occur before one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is the difficulty to remember new information learned and as the disease develops, the person can become disoriented, have difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking, have behavior changes, confusion about time, places, the purpose of common items, and lose remembrance of family, friends, or caregivers.

If someone you know has Alzheimer’s, keep in mind that their behavior and mood may change significantly. They may have a lot of anger, anxiety, agitation, forgetfulness, and confusion. There is also the probability of them being aggressive in ways such as using verbal aggression by shouting and yelling or possibly physical aggression by hitting and pushing. Ways to try to avoid altercation is by keeping things simple (Not asking too many things at once). Establish a daily routine to make sure the person know when things will happen. Try to endeavor a way of being sure to not argue with the person. If the person is someone who was once active or likes to pace back and forth, provide them somewhere safe to walk and accord them with snacks to make sure that they do not lose too much weight. Additionally, use singing and music to distract the person. In 2013, Fisher Center Alzheimer’s Research Foundation did a study in which they studied a group of elderly men and women, for 4 months, who had dementia and split them into two groups. One group listened to songs that would have reminded them of their childhood, while the second group listened to the same songs but sang along. After the 4 months, the researchers has discovered that those who had sang with the songs had scored higher on tests of memory and thinking skills.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that should be taken very seriously and not taken lightly. The disease develops slowly over time and once someone has fully developed the disease there is no way of going back to the person’s normal state of mind. Unfortunately, there is no way of preventing to prevent it from occurring, but the only known factor to decrease your risk, is to decrease your risk of heart disease; Components that increase your risk of heart disease, also increases your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia; Furthermore, there is also no cure for the disease but there are drug and non-drug medications that could help treat the symptoms; For memory loss and the fixture of thinking skills The U. S FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved two medications cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine (Namenda) to treat the cognitive symptoms; For behavior, there are resources to help caregivers or family members cope with how to help someone with Alzheimer’s; For sleep problems, doctors often prescribe Tricyclic antidepressants (nortriptyline), Benzodiazepines (lorazepam) sleeping pills (zolpidem), and older classical antipsychotics (haloperidol). If you would like to do more research or need supplemental information, you can call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 hotline: 800.272.3900; locate your local Alzheimer’s Association, or visit their Virtual Library.

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