Alzheimer’s Disease Information

Early Symptoms and Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease: “The Silent Thief of Time”

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease and the most common form of dementia in older people. It is progressive. It destroys memory and cognitive skills, leaving its victim unable to perform basic daily tasks. In its very early stages, no one may notice anything different about the afflicted person. As it progresses, however, the victim becomes increasingly unable to remember things and unable to perform basic tasks.

The best way to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is to get the facts and understand more about the disease.

  • Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million Americans.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, right behind cancer and heart disease.
  • Symptoms appear most often in people who are in their mid-60s. Earlier onset is rare but does occur in people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. It is a disease.
  • People with Alzheimer’s disease live about 4 to 8 years after diagnosis, although some people live up to 20 years.

Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease begin to develop serious damage to the brain about a decade before any symptoms appear. The damage kills brain cells. Hence, the brain tissue drastically shrinks over time.

Two types of brain abnormalities are considered hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Plaques : clumps of protein called “amyloid plaques.”
  • Tangles : tangled bundles of fibers, or “neurofibrillary tangles.”

Both cause a loss of connections between the neurons in the brain. The abnormalities begin to develop first in the part of the brain that is responsible for forming memories, making memory loss one of the most common early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

(MCI) Mild Cognitive Impairment Symptoms

It is important to remember, however, that while memory loss is indeed one of the key early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss does not necessarily mean you have Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss can be a normal part of aging or it can be a sign of a less serious condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in which afflicted people have more memory loss that normal but can still take care of themselves and perform their normal activities. The memory loss, especially loss of new memories, which accompanies Alzheimer’s disease is more serious than “forgetfulness.” The memory loss that is one of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, says the Alzheimer’s Association, makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks. It persists, and it worsens.

Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Signs of memory loss, which may be MCI or Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • losing things often
  • forgetting to go to appointments or other scheduled events and not remembering them later
  • forgetting names of people, family members, and everyday objects
  • being unable to think of words to express yourself

As soon as you or loved ones notice any memory loss, you should see a doctor to find out what the cause of the memory loss is.

Other signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Inability to find the right words.
  • Asking for the same information multiple times.
  • Vision and spatial issues.
  • Impaired reasoning and judgment.
  • Having trouble with everyday tasks like driving, paying bills, or cooking.
  • Getting lost easily.
  • Losing things or putting them in strange places.
  • Personality and mood changes such as becoming worried, fearful, angry, or violent.
  • Finding simple things, which you used to do easily, confusing or difficult.
  • Withdrawing from social situations or from work.

The Stages of Alzheimer ’s Disease

There are essentially three stages of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Early stage, or mild Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by memory loss, losing things or putting them in illogical places, trouble planning and organizing, and difficulty performing everyday tasks.
  • Middle stage, or moderate Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by a deepening memory loss that includes forgetfulness of your personal history, inability to recall your own phone number or address, confusion about what season or day it is, sleep-pattern and behavioral changes, and a tendency to wander and get lost.
  • Late stage, or severe Alzheimer’s disease, in which the victim can no longer carry on a conversation, control movement, communicate pain, or perform everyday tasks.

Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. There are no treatments that will stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or stop the damage and death of brain cells. However there are treatments that may mitigate some of the symptoms of the disease and slow down the progression of the disease. One type of Alzheimer’s disease treatment involves medication that treat memory loss, confusion, and problems with thinking and reasoning. These drugs work by affecting the chemicals that carry messages between neurons in the brain. Other medications are able to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as behavioral changes, sleep problems, and hallucinations.

Natural Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease treatment also includes non-drug options, which the Alzheimer’s Association recommends be tried first. One type of Natural Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease involves taking very high doses of vitamin E under a doctor’s supervision. Vitamin E is thought to slow the rate of decline of Alzheimer’s disease. It is critical to take vitamin E under a doctor’s supervision because there are serious risks involved in taking high doses of this vitamin, especially in older people with coronary artery disease.

My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment.

~ Lisa Genova, Still Alice

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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment