Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. A neurodegenerative type of dementia, the disease starts mild and gets progressively worse.
Causes of Alzheimer’s disease
Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is caused by brain cell death. It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is progressive brain cell death that happens over a course of time. The total brain size shrinks with Alzheimer’s – the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
For doctors to make an initial diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, they must first be satisfied that there is dementia – guidelines spell out what dementia consists of. It involves cognitive or behavioural symptoms that show a decline from previous levels of “functioning and performing” and interfere with ability “to function at work or at usual activities.”
The symptom are listed below
- Worsened ability to take in and remember new information
- Impairments to reasoning, complex tasking, exercising judgment
- Impaired visuospatial abilities
- Impaired speaking, reading and writing
- Changes in personality and behaviour
Stages of Alzheimer’s disease
The progression of Alzheimer’s can be broken down into three basic stages
- Preclinical (no signs or symptoms yet)
- Mild cognitive impairment
Treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease – the death of brain cells in the dementia cannot be halted or reversed. There is, however, much backing for therapeutic interventions to help people live with Alzheimer’s disease more ably.There are no disease-modifying drugs available for Alzheimer’s disease but some options may reduce its symptoms and help improve quality of life.