Who is behind this??
Alzheimer’s disease was named after Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915), a German physician who studied the cells and tissues of the central nervous system.
Several different doctors had been studying and writing about this disease, but it did not get its now familiar name until 1911. That was the year when the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) referred to it as “Alzheimer’s disease” in a published article.
Before looking into what exactly the disease is, let’s see what Mala is telling about her grandmother.
Mala’s grandmother seems to do the strangest things. She repeats stories she told him in almost the exact words she used during his last visit. She forgets the words for common objects, like the television or her cane. She puts her purse in the oven and sometimes comes to dinner with her dress inside out. At times, his grandmother does not recognize him or his mom. That scares Mala the most. At first, the family simply thought she was getting old. Mala’s grandmother is in her eighties, and his mother told him that sometimes at her age people have trouble remembering things. But over the past year, Mala’s grandmother’s forgetfulness and odd behavior have gotten worse. She gets angry and is suspicious of everyone. The family now knows her problem involves more than just a touch of forgetfulness, which happens to everyone once in a while.
Mala’s grandmother has a disease called Alzheimer’s (pronounced as Allz-high-merz duh-zeez).
Now, What is Alzheimer’s disease??
Alzheimer’s disease is an illness of the brain. It causes large numbers of nerve cells in the brain to die. This affects a person’s ability to remember things, think clearly, and use good judgment. Doctors don’t know what causes the disease. They do know that most of the time it begins after age 60.
What happens when a person has Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease often starts slowly. In fact, some people don’t know they have it. They blame their forgetfulness on old age. However, over time, their memory problems get more serious. People with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may get lost easily and find even simple things confusing. Some people become worried, angry, or violent. As the illness gets worse, most people with Alzheimer’s disease need someone to take care of all their needs, including feeding and bathing. Some people with Alzheimer’s live at home with a caregiver. Other people with the disease live in a nursing home.
What are the signs of Alzheimer’s disease?
It’s important to know the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If you know the signs, you can get help right away. Some signs of the disease are listed here:
* Finding it hard to remember things
* Asking the same questions over and over
* Having trouble paying bills or solving simple math problems
* Getting lost
* Losing things or putting them in odd places
* Forgetting how to brush your teeth or comb your hair
* Being confused about time, people, or places
* Forgetting the names of common things, such as a desk, house, or apple
* Wandering away from home
Mild cognitive impairment
Some older people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities.
MCI memory problems may include:
* Losing things often
* Forgetting to go to events or appointments
* Having more trouble coming up with words than other people of the same age.
* If you have MCI, it’s important to see your doctor or specialist every 6 to 12 months. Ask him or her to check for changes in your memory and thinking.
When should you see your doctor?
If you or someone in your family thinks your forgetfulness is getting in the way of your normal routine, it’s time to see your doctor. Seeing the doctor when you first start having memory problems can help you find out what’s causing your forgetfulness. If you have Alzheimer’s, finding the disease early gives you and your family more time to plan for your treatment and care.
What are other causes of memory problems? Some medical conditions cause confusion and forgetfulness. The signs may look like Alzheimer’s disease, but they are caused by other problems. Here are medical conditions that can cause serious memory problems:
* Bad reaction to certain medicines
* Emotional problems such as depression
* Not eating enough healthy foods
* Too few vitamins and minerals in your body
* Drinking too much alcohol
* Blood clots or tumors in the brain
* Head injury, such as a concussion from a fall or accident
* Kidney, liver, or thyroid problems
* These medical conditions are serious and need to be treated. Once you get treatment, your confusion and forgetfulness should go away.
Are there treatments for Alzheimer’s disease?
There are medicines that can treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. But, there is no cure. Most of these medicines work best for people in the early or middle stages of the disease. For example, they can keep your memory loss from getting worse for a time. Other medicines may help if you have trouble sleeping, or are worried and depressed. All these medicines may have side effects and may not work for everyone.
Excellent Video on Alzheimer’s Disease – Please Watch It!!!
Did You Know?
* Alzheimer’s disease can occur in people in their thirties, but it is most common in people over age 65. Almost 90 percent of cases occur in the elderly, and as many as 50 percent of people over age 85 might have the disease.
* Four million people in America have Alzheimer’s. One of the most famous is former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
* Studies suggest that as many as 19 million adults and children have a relative with the disease. As many as 37 million Americans know someone with it.
* As more Americans live to advanced ages in the 21st century, the number of people with Alzheimer’s could reach 14 million.
* The disease costs American businesses more than $33 billion a year. Most of that, $26 billion, comes from EMPLOYEES who must miss work to care for relatives with Alzheimer’s disease. The rest is money spent on health insurance, research, and taxes for government programs like Medicare.
* Patients with Alzheimer’s disease can live as long as 20 years with the disease. The average person lives eight years after diagnosis of the condition.
Test your Memory
1) Alzheimer’s disease is the same as dementia and is a natural part of the aging process.
The correct answer is: False
Severe memory loss or dementia of any kind (including Alzheimer’s) is no longer considered a natural side effect of aging. The severe memory loss and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s, like agitation, anxiety and delusions, are in a different class than the occasional memory lapses we may encounter as we grow older. Though researchers haven’t pinpointed the cause of Alzheimer’s yet, they have identified physical changes in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients that aren’t found in the brains of those not suffering from the disease.
2) Which of the following is the most important risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease?
a) Advanced age
b) A family history of the disease
c) Drinking from aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots
d) Head injuries
The correct answer is: a. Advanced age
After age 65, the number of people with the disease doubles every five years. A family history of the disease may increase a person’s risk of getting it, but advanced age is by far the highest risk factor. Many studies have been done on whether drinking from aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots might play a role in whether a person gets Alzheimer’s, and so far researchers don’t see any connection. Some studies have found that Alzheimer’s is more common among people who have suffered severe head injuries resulting in loss of consciousness, but more research is necessary to understand whether the injuries actually cause the disease.
3) A person can die from Alzheimer’s disease.
The correct answer is: True
Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease. In its initial stages, the disease destroys cells in regions of the brain that primarily affect memory. But as it progresses, other areas of the brain are affected as well. Eventually, Alzheimer’s patients lose the ability to walk without assistance, to sit without support, and to hold up their heads. In the final stage of Alzheimer’s, patients’ muscles grow rigid and it becomes difficult to swallow. Because most people with Alzheimer’s are elderly and the disease often progresses slowly, many people end up dying of a different illness before reaching the final stages of Alzheimer’s. If they do not, the loss of brain function will eventually prove fatal.
4) Alzheimer’s disease can last as long as:
a) 1-2 years
b) 3-20 years
c) 5-10 years
d) 20-30 years
The correct answer is: b. 3-20 years
Alzheimer’s advances at different rates in different people, and can last from as little as three to as many as 20 years. Researchers have defined seven stages of Alzheimer’s based on symptom progression and the way the nerve cell degeneration manifests itself in the patient.
5) A diagnosis of “possible Alzheimer’s” means that:
a) The doctor believes there is a 50 to 60 percent chance that the patient has the disease.
b) The patient probably has Alzheimer’s disease but there may also be another disorder causing dementia as well.
c) The patient probably has age-related dementia.
d) Doctors don’t really know what the problem is.
The correct answer is: b. The patient probably has Alzheimer’s disease but there may also be another disorder causing dementia as well.
There are currently no blood tests or other lab tests to confirm an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, so doctors can only make a diagnosis of “possible” or “probable” Alzheimer’s disease. They do this by asking questions about a person’s medical history and giving the person memory and problem-solving tests. They also do tests to rule out other diseases that could cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. A diagnosis of “probable” Alzheimer’s means that all other diseases that cause dementia-like symptoms have been ruled out and the most likely diagnosis is Alzheimer’s. A diagnosis of “possible” Alzheimer’s means that Alzheimer’s is likely the main cause of the patient’s condition, but that another disorder could also be affecting the progression of symptoms.
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