Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alzheimer: Brain Drain Symptoms and risk factors

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible disease where the nerve cells die and the brain's function deteriorates. It is normal part of aging. People with the condition gradually lose their memory and encounter growing difficulties with language and emotions.

Symptoms vary. Alzheimer's progress depends on the individual and the affected brain areas. A person's abilities may fluctuate from day to day or even within the day, becoming worse in times of stress and, fatigue, and ill health. The one constant: deterioration over time. The early stages are not immediately obvious and may be dismissed as " a passing phase." The following may be noticed:

  • It takes longer to do tasks - The person loses the point of conversation, repeat himself, forget well-known people or places, cannot process questions and instructions, becomes emotionally unpredictable, and slowly loses manual, social, and language skills.
  • Persistent and frequent memory difficulties - especially of recent events. These are often associated with personality change such as aggression or obsession, vagueness in every conversation, and apparent loss of enthusiasm for activities or giving up certain activities.
  • Te person may be unaware of the severity of his problems - This lack of insight is a part of the disease.
  • In more advanced stages, physical symptoms such as weight loss and incontinence may occur.
  • Previously well-learned information and skills may be lost: how to dress, eat, walk, and when to sleep.
  • New behaviors may happen, such as hallucinations or misinterpretations.
Risk Factors
  • Low education levels - Some studies show that low education levels can be related to an increased risk for alzheimer, although the reason is not clearly understood.
  • Head injury - There is a strong link between seroius head injury and the risk of developing Alzheimer's
  • Down syndrome - Having down syndrome or a family history of down syndrome has increased risk for Alzheimer's, although the exact reasons are not known.
  • Sex - Women have slightly greater chance of developing Alzheimer's than men, despite women's longer life span. Scientists are studying if hormone replacement therapy can reduce this risk.
  • Factors linked to heart disease and stroke - New studies suggest that the risk of developing Alzheimer's increases in conditions that damage the heart and blood vessels. These disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol.
  • Family history - Being a first degree relative (child, brother, sister, parent) of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's increase the risk for developing the disease.
  • Increasing Age - People over the age of 65 have one in eight chance of developing Alzheimer. Estimates show that the prevalence of moderate to sever dementia is 5 percent for people 65 to 79, about 16 percent for people 80 t0 84, and over 24percent for people 85 and older. Although Alzheimer's occurs mostly in the 70's and 80's, it can appear in people showing early symptoms of dementia.
Forgetting, by itself, should not ring alarm bells. Most people experience normal lapses of memory and concentration. With age, memory recalls becomes slower and learning new things takes longer. These may not necessarily be caused by Alzheimer's. Stress, anxiety, and depression may be the usual suspects. Loss of memory with Alzheimer's is persistent, progressive, disruptive, and usually accompanied by certain symptoms.

Related Post: Alzheimer's: treatment or potential prevention

6 comments:

Lauren said...

lots of information-- thanks!

The Fitness Diva said...

Is a really sad thing to have happen to a person.
Aging really sucks! I know that not all get Alzheimer's, but even still, your brain function and memory lessen as time goes on, not to mention what happens to your body.
Aging sucks!!!

Dwayne said...

That is one thing I hope that I never have to deal with. I have known a couple of people that went through that, it really tore the family up about it. A good article, thanks for sharing.

your "Health Assistant" said...

Fitness diva i agree that aging sucks but we have to deal with it.sometimes i dream that we can upgrade our memory or we can save our memory so if we forgot we can have a save memory and have a access on it ;)

Its true Dwayne some family cant deal with Alzheimer i hope we are not like them people with Alzheimer need love more.

thanks for your time to comment on my post godbless

Anonymous said...

can an 18 y.o can possibly develop this disease?

catluvvergal010 said...

Unless it is a typo, I believe you're wrong; it is NOT a normal part of aging. It says blatantly on the Alzheimer's Association website that even though it almost always affects older people(65 and up) that it is not a normal thing. I do agree that it a horrible, devastating thing- and yes, aging still DOES suck. So does the disease.
And Anonymous, in answer to your question, I think the youngest person to have ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer's was 30-something. I suppose it could be just barely developing, but it will take a long time for it to show up on tests. If you play football or other contact sports, that can increase your risk. Try to find ways to keep your brain healthy.

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