Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: What is Alzheimer’s?
June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain awareness month. We want to take the time to better inform you on Alzheimer’s disease. We will be discussing a variety of things regarding Alzheimer’s to help give you a better understanding.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a cognitive disorder. It is the most common form of dementia and affects your memory and other cognitive abilities. Most of the time these symptoms are severe enough to interfere with the way you handle daily activities. The reason Alzheimer’s affects your memory and cognitive abilities is because of the nature of the disease. Alzheimer’s damages and destroys your brain cells and their connections. This process usually happens progressively. That means that the disease slowly and gradually worsens in your brain. Eventually, it leads to a decline in brain function and your brain cells begin to die. Alzheimer’s is currently fatal with no cure.
What are the Risks of Getting Alzheimer’s?
Currently, the biggest known risk of Alzheimer’s is just old age. However, there are cases of early onset. The majority of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are over the age of 65. Although, around 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have seen an early onset.
The next biggest factor that can increase your risk of developing the disease is genetics. Your genes play a big part in whether you become diagnosed. Your chances of developing the disease increase when one of your family has been diagnosed with it. Scientists have discovered two different types of genes that directly effect your chances of being diagnosed with the disease.
What Genes Come into Play?
Risk genes are the first gene that affects your likelihood of developing the disease. These genes increase your likelihood of developing the disease but don’t quarantee you will. The gene with the strongest impact is apolipoprotein E-e4. Apolipoprotein E-e4 is known as APOE-e4 for short. Apolipoprotein has many common forms that include the E-e1, E-e2, and E-e3 versions. However, those who have inherited the APOE-e4 gene from their parents are at a greater risk to develop the disease.
The second type of gene associated with Alzheimer’s is deterministic genes. These genes directly cause the disease and guarantee that you will develop the disease. Scientists also found that there are three proteins that directly impact the onset. These proteins include amyloid precursor protein, presenilin-1, and presenilin-2. These genes appear in multiple generations of families. It’s usual to develop the disease in your 40s or 50s if you have one of these genes.
What are the Warning Signs?
While Alzheimer’s is not curable, but there are ways to spot it. Memory loss is the biggest warning sign. Not all memory loss is a sign of some form of dementia. However, forgetting recently learned information and repeatedly asking the same question are red flags. Another warning sign is if you or a loved one has trouble planning or solving problems. If you notice your loved one or yourself having a difficult time completing familiar tasks, it may be time to do further investigation. The early stages of the disease frequently confuses a person with time or places.
People who have the disease may also have trouble with their judgement, placement of their possessions, and difficulty with speaking. Alzheimer’s also interferes with your understanding of visual images. Another red flag is your loved withdrawing themselves from social environments and mood swings.
You can be tested to determine whether you carry the genes for the disease. The test requires you to have your genes tested to see if you carry the genes for Alzheimer’s or will develop it. You should ask to be tested for the disease when you notice any of the warning signs. Doctors advise that you get tested only once. But do you want to know that you have the disease early in life? That’s for you to decide.
What Can You Do to Treat It?
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are several ways to treat it. These treatments help with the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease. You can choose between drugs and medication or non-drug treatment.
The drug treatment you will use with Alzheimer’s are all prescription drugs. Prescribed drugs will help lessen the symptoms but will not completely cure the disease. These prescriptions may help with memory loss and confusion. However, drugs will only lessen these symptoms for a limited period.
You can also opt to use non-drug ways of treating the illness. In recent years, many herbal remedies and dietary supplements have popped up and claimed to help lessen symptoms. “Medical foods” also help treat symptoms. Non-drug products help memory and delay certain forms of dementia. However, there is no scientific backing for these remedies proving their effectiveness or safety.
Can I Prevent It?
The answer varies from person to person on whether you can prevent the disease or not. The answer is a no for some people because they have the gene that automatically gives you the disease. You can do several things to prevent the disease. You can maintain good overall health as a means of prevention.
Scientists have linked several cardiovascular diseases to an increased chance of Alzheimer’s. Diseases that increased chances of Alzheimer’s include high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. You can reduce your risk by keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. Staying physically active by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet also decreases your chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
Another way you can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is through keeping strong social connections. Also, it is good to stay mentally active by challenging your brain intellectually as you age. All these actions can help you reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s not prevent it completely.
What to Do When Diagnosed?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease? You may want to look into some options for help with care. Most people like to stay in their homes as they especially people with Alzheimer’s since their familiar with their home. Hiring a home care provider is a great strategy to help care for your loved one. Caregogi’s site offers hundreds of quality care providers with experience at half the cost of a traditional agency. Visit our site today to start planning and receiving care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
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