It all started when Isaac began behaving strangely—forgetting details like where he put his car keys, what day it already was, and giving up on grooming himself. Then he started withdrawing from his friends and then suddenly quit his job.
Soon, Isaac was driving like a madman—always ending up on the wrong lane, failing to recognize traffic signs, and then finally forgetting how to put his key into his car’s ignition.
That was when his friend decided to take him to a doctor for a checkup on his condition.
The doctor’s diagnosis? Alzheimer’s disease.
What is it? How can you identify it? And what can be done to treat it?
Below are facts that you should know about this form of dementia and the medical treatment currently available for those who have this disease.
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What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease refers to the most common form of dementia that affects 60 to 80 percent of those diagnosed with dementia. Those who have this disease suffer from acute memory loss and crippled intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with their daily activities.
Some people believe that Alzheimer’s disease is a normal part of the aging process, but experts say that that is not the case. Although old age certainly is a factor, Alzheimer’s disease also affects those who are relatively younger. 5% of those who suffer from this disease have what doctors call onset Alzheimer’s, as they acquired the disease in their 40’s or 50’s.
Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive type of disease, its gravity increases over time. During the last stage of this disease, the person falls into an almost vegetative state—becoming incapable of holding a conversation or responding to his or her environment. In the United States, this disease is the sixth leading cause of death, with experts giving an average of 8 years for survival after the identifications of its symptoms. In some cases, however, survival can range from 4 to 20 years, depending on the person’s health conditions and age.
The Ten Symptoms
How will you know whether a loved one is suffering from this form of dementia? The ten symptoms outlined below will help you determine when you should see a medical expert.
- Frequent incidents of memory loss
We all have those moments when we forget things. It is a different story, however, when an individual forgets information that they have just learned, or important dates and events. If you find that someone seems to forget more often than usual, and if that person begins to rely increasingly on memory aids for details they used to handle on their own very well, be wary. These could be symptoms of the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Difficulty in planning and problem-solving
Such difficulty manifests itself when an individual develops trouble in developing and following a set of plans and finds it extra challenging to work with digits. A typical incident might be occasional errors in balancing checkbooks.
- Challenges in task completion
Victims of Alzheimer’s disease find it greatly daunting to fulfill a once-familiar task at home. Others also find it difficult to remember the way to a familiar location.
- Confusion with place or time
Losing track of time, forgetting familiar routes and forgetting their location or how they got there–these are all warning signals of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Vision problems
Some may develop a difficulty in judging spatial relationships and reading. In some cases, those who suffer from the disease fail to recognize their reflection in the mirror. Every facial feature, you may find it strange or you have looked someone that is familiar to you.
- Recent problems with writing and speaking
Stopping halfway through a conversation and then forgetting what they are supposed to say next is typical of one who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Another sign would be having trouble naming a familiar object, probably calling a watch a ‘hand clock’ instead.
- Constantly misplacing things
Those who have Alzheimer’s disease may start putting things at unlikely places and then be unable to retrace their tracks. Some even accuse others of stealing things they have misplaced.
- Poor judgment
Poor judgment may especially be more pronounced in the way the victim deals with financial decisions, some even going as far as giving huge sums of money to telemarketers. They may pay lesser attention to their dress and grooming as well.
- Sudden withdrawal from social activities or work
Victims often start avoiding social activities and stop engaging in what used to be their hobbies. Others may feel weary of work and other related obligations.
- Mood and personality changes
If you’re living with someone who has Alzheimer’s, you might find it increasingly difficult to deal with his or her sudden mood and personality changes. They easily become upset over a routine disruption, and their moods may go from suspicious, confused, and fearful to anxious and depressed.
At present, there is no known cure for this disease. Treatments available only address the symptoms and slow down the onset of dementia to a person. Scientists, however, note that those with this disease have a deficiency of the element selenium.
Note: – This article is guest posted by Ashley Sotelo, is a pro-active health enthusiast. Currently she is writing for BRI Nutrition whose sole purpose is to provide natural and safe supplements. You can connect with her at Twitter, Google+. Want to submit a guest post? Read DailyFitnessTips guest submission guidelines.