Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are a continuous loss of mental function marked by brain tissue deterioration, involving nerve cell death, the accumulation of an aberrant protein called beta-amyloid, and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles. Early signs include forgetting recent events, increased perplexity, impairment of other mental functions, and difficulties using and interpreting language and performing daily chores. Alzheimer’s disease symptoms grow to the point where people are unable to function, leaving them completely reliant on others. Symptoms and the results of a physical examination, mental status tests, blood tests, and imaging studies are used to make a diagnosis. Treatment entails attempts to keep people functioning as long as possible, as well as medications that may reduce the disease’s course. Although it is impossible to estimate how long people will live, death happens on average roughly 7 years after a diagnosis is established.
Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are similar to those of other dementias, including the following:
- Loss of memory
- Language difficulties
- Personality changes
- Having difficulty performing routine everyday tasks
- Inappropriate or disruptive behavior
Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, is distinct from other dementias. Recent memory, for example, is usually impacted significantly more than other mental skills.
Although the timing of symptoms varies, categorizing them as early, intermediate, or late symptoms give affected people, family members, and other caregivers some guidance. In Alzheimer’s disease, personality changes and disruptive conduct (behavior disorders) can appear early or late.
Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages
Because Alzheimer’s disease symptoms appear gradually, many people continue to enjoy much of what they did before having the disease.
Symptoms usually appear gradually. People who develop a sickness while working may not perform as effectively in their careers. The alterations may not be as noticeable in retirees who are not particularly active.
The first and most obvious symptom could be
Recent events are forgotten because it is difficult to generate fresh memories.
Personality changes occur from time to time (people may become emotionally unresponsive, depressed, or unusually fearful or anxious)
People with Alzheimer’s disease lose their ability to make wise decisions and think abstractly early on in the disease. It’s possible that your speech patterns will shift slightly. People may use simpler words, a broad word, or a group of words instead of a specific phrase, or they may misuse words. They might not be able to come up with the correct word.
Alzheimer’s patients have trouble processing visual and auditory clues. As a result, individuals may get bewildered and perplexed. Driving a car can be challenging if you are disoriented. They can become disoriented on their route to the store. People may be able to function socially, but their behavior may be out of the ordinary.
Many persons with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit psychotic behavior (hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia) at some time.
Alzheimer’s illness develops later.
People with Alzheimer’s disease have problems remembering past events as the disease progresses. They begin to forget the names of their friends and family members. They may require assistance with eating, dressing, bathing, and toileting. People with Alzheimer’s disease lose all sense of time and place, and they may even get lost on their way to the bathroom at home. Their growing perplexity puts them in danger of wandering and falling.
Wandering, agitation, impatience, hostility, and physical aggression are all examples of disruptive or inappropriate behavior.
Alzheimer’s patients eventually lose their ability to move or care for their personal needs. They may be unable to swallow, eat, or speak due to incontinence. They are at risk of malnutrition, pneumonia, and pressure sores as a result of these changes (bedsores). The ability to remember things is completely gone.
Eventually, unconsciousness and death occur, frequently as a result of infections.
Alzheimer’s illness causes behavioral problems.
People who are less capable of controlling their conduct may engage in ways that are improper or disturbing (for example, by yelling, throwing, hitting, or wandering). Behavior disorders are the names given to these acts.
This conduct is influenced by a number of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms:
People with Alzheimer’s disease may act in socially incorrect ways because they have forgotten the standards of decent behavior. They may undress in public when it is hot. They may masturbate in public, use obscene or filthy language, or make sexual demands when they experience sexual impulses.
Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis
When the following symptoms appear, Alzheimer’s disease is suspected:
Dementia has been established as a diagnosis.
- The most visible symptom is either forgetting recent events or being unable to develop new memories, especially in the beginning.
- Memory and other mental abilities have degraded with time and are still deteriorating.
- Dementia normally strikes after the age of 40, and usually after the age of 65.
Some signs can help doctors tell the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Visual hallucinations, for example, are more common and appear earlier in dementia with Lewy bodies than in Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease are also more well-dressed and tidy than those with other dementias.
Additional tests aid in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and the exclusion of other forms and causes of dementia.
A combination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis and positron emission tomography (PET) may be used to identify Alzheimer’s disease. If a low quantity of beta-amyloid is detected in the CSF, and PET scans reveal amyloid or tau deposits in the brain, the diagnosis is more likely to be Alzheimer’s disease. These tests, however, are not commonly available.
Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
According to some preliminary studies, the following steps may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease:
- Controlling cholesterol levels: There is some evidence that excessive cholesterol levels are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. People may benefit from a low-saturated-fat diet and, if necessary, cholesterol and other fat-lowering medicines (such as statins) (lipids).
- Controlling high blood pressure: High blood pressure can damage blood arteries that deliver blood to the brain, reducing oxygen availability to the brain and potentially altering nerve cell connections.
- Exercising: Exercising improves cardiac function and, for unknown reasons, may also improve brain function.
- People are urged to continue performing activities that challenge their minds, such as acquiring new skills, playing crossword puzzles, and reading the newspaper, to be mentally active. These activities may help delay dementia by promoting the formation of new connections (synapses) between nerve cells.
- Moderate alcohol consumption: Moderate alcohol consumption (no more than three drinks per day) may help decrease cholesterol and preserve blood flow. By boosting the release of acetylcholine and inducing other changes in nerve cells in the brain, alcohol may even help with thinking and remembering. There is, however, no compelling evidence that those who do not consume alcohol should begin to do so in order to avoid Alzheimer’s disease. When dementia sets in, abstaining from alcohol is usually the best option because it can exacerbate dementia symptoms.
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment
As with all dementias, Alzheimer’s disease treatment entails general safety and support measures. Additionally, certain medicines can provide temporary relief. The individual with Alzheimer’s disease, their family members, other carers, and the health care professionals involved should meet and determine the best strategy for that person.
Pain is addressed, as are any other ailments or health issues (such as a urinary tract infection or constipation). Dementia patients may benefit from such treatment since it may help them preserve function.