Elderly Health

What is Alzheimer's disease?
It is the degeneration of the brain cells, causing problems to memory, thinking, and behavior, and affecting the life of persons suffering from the disease, and as time passes, the condition of the patient deteriorates. Alzheimer is not a normal stage of aging; but the possibility of developing the disease increases with age.
In spite of the fact that causes of Alzheimer disease are still unknown, it is believed that accumulation of the amyloid protein in the brain causes damage to brain cells, eventually leading to the onset of Alzheimer. 
Risk factors: 
  • Genetics. 
  • Aging.
  • Gender; women are more susceptible to the disease than men. 
  • Risk factors of heart diseases are also risk factors for Alzheimer disease, including high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, irregular diabetes and smoking. 
  • Lack of mental and physical activity.  
  • Diet rich in fat, and low intake of vegetables and fruits.
Stages and symptoms:
Alzheimer's patient goes through the following three stages:
1- Early stage:
One of the most common symptoms characterizing this stage is that the patient suffers from memory impairment, especially when it comes to the latest events, names of persons and places he has known recently. That is to be added to difficulties in doing some simple calculations. Although such symptoms may be somehow annoying, they are not to be considered a cause for concern at the beginning.
2- Intermediate stage:
As time passes, the symptoms increase and become more obvious and more serious. It is at this juncture that the patient or his relatives seek the doctor's help. For example, the patient, at this stage, may be unable to do his simple daily activities, such as hairdressing, tooth-brushing and similar activities. He cannot live alone without problems; his speaking difficulty worsens, he might also wander around aimlessly and show symptoms of hallucination and delirium.
 3- Late stage:
At this stage the patient starts suffering from impairment of the important mental faculties: such as speech, writing, reading, understanding, and thinking, etc. It is characterized by eating difficulties, inability to recognize those around, facing difficulty in comprehending events, inability to find a way inside the house, as well as walking problems, and displaying behaviors considered improper by the community.
Early diagnosis of the disease helps to propose the best treatment, which may be useful in delaying development of the disease. 
The doctor may need to take the following measures to diagnose Alzheimer: 
  • Knowing health and genetic history of Alzheimer patient.  
  • Physical and neurological examination to detect the responses of the patient, muscle strength, the patient's ability to sit on a chair and walk in the room, and the ability to balance, as well as assessing his senses of hearing and sight.  
  • Laboratory tests.  
  • Brain imaging: CT-scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). 
Currently, there is no definitive treatment for Alzheimer disease. The approved medications work to slow down deterioration of the patient. 
Last Update : 08 August 2017 09:44 AM
Reading times :