Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder named for German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. Scientists have learned a great deal about Alzheimer's disease in the century since Dr. Alzheimer first drew attention to it.
Alzheimer's disease begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. Over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members or have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care.
Symptoms of Alzheimer
People with Alzheimer's experience difficulties communicating, learning, thinking and reasoning - problems severe enough to have an impact on an individual's work, social activities and family life.
Loss of judgment. Solving everyday problems, such as knowing what to do if food on the stove is burning, becomes increasingly difficult, eventually impossible. Alzheimer's is characterized by greater difficulty in doing things that require planning, decision making and judgment.
An impaired ability to carry out motor activities (such as combing their hair) despite intact motor abilities, sensory function and comprehension of the required task (apraxia)
Mood and behavior changes (rapid mood swings, emotional outbursts, personality changes, increased fear or suspicion)
Memory worsens, words are used more and more inappropriately, basic self-care skills are lost, personality changes, agitation develops, can't recognize distant family or friends, has difficulty communicating, wanders off, becomes deluded and may experience hallucinations.
Language problems (forgetting the names of objects, mixing up words, difficulty completing sentences)
They begin to have problems speaking, understanding, reading, or writing. Later on, people with AD may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, patients need total care.
Disorientation - It's normal to forget the day of the week or where you're going. People with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on the street where they live, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.
Misplacing Items - Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or key. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places - an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
Causes of Alzheimer
Family history is another risk factor. The disease does seem to run in some families. However, fewer than 10% of cases of Alzheimer disease are familial. Familial Alzheimer disease often occurs at a younger age, between ages 30 and 60 years. This is called early-onset familial Alzheimer disease.
Possible role of tangles: The internal support structure for brain neurons depends on the normal functioning of a protein called tau. In people with Alzheimer's, threads of tau protein undergo alterations that cause them to become twisted. Many researchers believe this may seriously damage neurons, causing them to die.
Environment to learn what role they might play in the development of this disease. Scientists are finding increasing evidence that some of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low levels of the vitamin folate, may also increase the risk of AD. Evidence for physical, mental, and social activities as protective factors against AD is also increasing.
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