5 frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s disease

A common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating and progressive disease that affects the brain and motor functions of the body. The disease progresses through stages. It begins to affect the regions of the brain that control language, thought, and memory. In most of the cases, it begins with a slight memory loss. In the final stages, Alzheimer’s disease leads to the loss of various abilities including motor skills, speech, and independent movement. Here are a few frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s.

What are the causes?
Alzheimer’s disease does not have any definite cause. Research has been unable to conclude whether Alzheimer’s is developed by one cause or multiple ones. The exact cause of the ailment is not yet known. However, there are multiple factors that may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the major causes is ageism. Also, a family history of Alzheimer’s is another major risk. This may lead to the inheritance of genes that cause this disease. Some other possible risk factors that can cause Alzheimer’s include high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and high cholesterol.

What are the symptoms?
In most cases, the first warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease is a loss of cognitive ability. That is, it begins with memory loss. Over a period, other symptoms will start surfacing. There will be frequent changes in the behavior, personality, or mood of the person. A person will experience poor judgment and will frequently misplace things. They may also have trouble in retracing the steps to find these lost things. Moreover, the rapid loss of memory will cause disruptions in everyday life. Also, it will become difficult to complete routine day-to-day tasks. They may also find it difficult to manage bills or money. In some cases, a person may experience mental health problems such as depression.

How is the diagnosis done?
There is no particular test that can indicate the early onset of Alzheimer’s. Generally, doctors check for symptoms, early signs, medical, and family history. Also, doctors will examine neurological functions. These include balance, senses, and reflexes. Sometimes, genetic testing, CT scans, blood and urine tests, and MRI scans may also be suggested. This is done to rule out other ailments that have symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

What are the various stages?
There are three main stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The first stage is preclinical, before the symptoms start to appear. Mild cognitive impairment is the second stage, where the symptoms start to develop. The intensity of symptoms is still mild. Dementia is the final stage. The Alzheimer’s Association has defined seven stages. These are based on the severity and intensity of the symptoms. These stages include no impairment state, moderate and mild decline. The final stage is the severe decline state. In the majority of the cases, diagnosis usually occurs in the fourth stage of Alzheimer’s, which is called the “early stage or mild Alzheimer’s.”

How to treat Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s does not have any treatment. Therapies and medications are recommended mostly for a better management of life. These treatment methods have been designed to assist an Alzheimer’s patient to live with the various symptoms. These treatments are geared towards maintaining mental functions, managing behavioural symptoms, and slowing down the progress of the disease.

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