Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease : Causes, Pictures, Symptoms and Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease is a developing form of dementia. Dementia is a condition which occurs due to an injury or disease in the brain. It affects negatively on behavior, memory ability, and thinking ability. These changes in the brain cause to effect on the everyday life of an individual.

Why this disease named as Alzheimer’s?

In 1906 Dr. Alois Alzheimer presented the name “Alzheimer’s” after he found brain tissue changes. A woman died due to abnormal mental ailments. She had symptoms such as speaking problem, memory loss, and irregular behavior. After the death of that woman, Dr. Alois Alzheimer analyzed her brain and identified unusual cluster which describes as amyloid plaques and fiber tangles.

According to the Association of Alzheimer’s, this disease relates to nearly 60% to 80% of dementia cases. In most cases, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease happens in people after the age of 65. In some cases, people get Alzheimer’s disease at a young age which describes as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t have any cure, but the treatment can reduce the disease progression.

Alzheimer’s facts

Alzheimer’s facts

Not everyone knows about Alzheimer’s disease, like specifically what disease it is. Here is the explanation about Alzheimer’s condition. It is an endless progressing condition.

  • Alzheimer’s and dementia are different from one another. This disease is a form of dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s signs develop slowly, and the results for the brain are degenerative (they cause a steady decline).
  • Anybody can get Alzheimer’s disease however certain individuals have a higher chance for it. Especially it affects individuals over age 65 and those people who have a family background of the Alzheimer’s.
  • There’s no treatment for Alzheimer’s, yet treatment can help reduce the progression of the ailment and may enhance the life expectancy.
  • Individuals with Alzheimer’s will not experience a single result. Some people live normal with moderate cognitive damage while some people encounter fast growth of disease and visible symptoms.

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease

According to the scientist, most people get Alzheimer’s disease due to the combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors which affect the brain with time.

Particularly Alzheimer’s disease occurs due to the genetic causes in less than 5% over the time. This cause ensures an individual will build up the sickness.

In spite of its causes, the Alzheimer’s disease is not completely understood, but you can get clear that it affects brain functions.

Alzheimer’s disease causes damage and destroys the brain cells. During this disease, the brain has fewer cells and less able to connect with surviving cells than a healthy brain.

As the Alzheimer’s disease progress and brain cells decline the functions of the brain’s significant parts begin to shrink. Here are the two main abnormalities which indicate the disease in progress.

Plaques

Plaques

The beta-amyloid which are protein clusters can possibly destroy the brain cells in various ways including the brain cells communication interference.

During Alzheimer’s disease, the exact cause of brain cell death is still unknown. The prime suspect can be beta-amyloid which accumulate outside of the brain.

Tangles

Tangles

Normally brain cells structure depend on the internal assistance and the nutrients carrying transports system and other important substances. This internal system needs a normal formation and protein functions which describe as tau.

During the Alzheimer’s disease, the protein strings twist and form abnormally tangles in the brain which result in the breakdown of the transport system.

This failure strongly linked to the decline of cells response and cell death in the brain.

Possible Causes of Late-Onset Alzheimer’s

Here are the main causes which are more prone to develop the Alzheimer’s disease after the age of 60.

Age

Age

Older age is a prominent cause of Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is not a normal aging part, but the aged individual develops more risk after the age of 65. The progress of dementia increases every decade after the 60s.

Individuals with rare genetic mutation associate with early-onset of Alzheimer’s and start to experience the disease symptoms in their early 30s.

As human reach, the late 50s the cognitive functions of the brain begin to decline slowly. The neurodegeneration and dementia are fixed themselves in all but only some who survive at a very old age.

Age-related cognitive dysfunction affects different regions of the brain. The individual may experience cellular change and tell-tale molecular which characterized tissue aging including inflammation, abnormal proteostasis and stem cell activity loss.

Genetic Cause

Genetic Cause

There are various genes mutation which continually cause Alzheimer’s late-onset. Alternatively, the late-onset form appears to denote the mixed effect of multiple genes, and each of them contributes to increasing the risk especially the one well known is the apolipoprotein E gene (ApoE).

There are various diseases which occurs due to genetic mutation sometimes it changes the specific genes permanently. If a person hereditary have genes mutation problem, then it continues in other family members also. The disease includes early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia.

Some disease has genetic variants. It is possible that a single gene can have different variants. The variants in gene directly cause disease.

Finding genetic variants can help to identify the effective treatment for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is an unstoppable developing brain disease. This disease occurred by the genetic problem can develop amyloid plaques, tau. There will be neurons connection loss which cause the death of the cell.

Risk Factors Influencing Alzheimer’s Disease

According to experts, the major cause of Alzheimer’s disease is genes and age. Apart from these causes research has revealed other risk factors which contribute to Alzheimer’s through general lifestyle. Keep reading how the risk factors cause Alzheimer.

Head injury

Head injury

Head injury can cause Alzheimer’s disease. The contact sport such as football can cause injuries which can affect the brain in further life. A study found these types of head injury relates to Alzheimer’s disease.

Around 70 % to 90% of head injuries are believed to be harmless even concussion effects are minimum if they occur frequently. But recently researchers have found traumatic brain injuries affect and create long-term risk. These injuries include combat roles, professional sports or other physical effort jobs.

The serious brain injuries came into light which includes a potential role of head injury in later cognitive problems which can be mild to impairments of complete dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. However, studies have found that mild to severe head injuries develop a significant risk of dementia.

Vascular disease

Vascular disease

Vascular disease is a condition which influences the blood circulatory system (blood carrying vessels from the heart).

According to previous studies, the vascular disease risk factor associated with wildlife and the risk increase in later life that is dementia specifically Alzheimer’s disease which is a common type of dementia.

However, the risk factor of beta-amyloid build-up in the brain is still unclear stated by Dr. Rebecca F. Gottesman from Neurology department in Johns Hopkins School of medicine, Baltimore.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol

According to a new study from Cambridge University of the United Kingdom, cholesterol build-up can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

A waxy substance describes as cholesterol which build-up in arteries walls and leads to health problems.

Apart from cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart disease, cholesterol also a cause of Alzheimer’s.

Scientist revealed that normally amyloid-beta attach to lipids which is an insoluble molecule including steroid, fats, wax, and phospholipids. Amyloid-beta found to attach properly to lipid cell layers which contain cholesterol.

If amyloid-beta particles stuck with cholesterol including lipid cell layers, then there is a more prominent possibility that these particles encounter each other which result in cluster formation in the brain. It will increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Smoking

Smoking

The study has found smoking causes to develop Alzheimer’s. Not every smoker gets Alzheimer’s disease, but quitting smoking can reduce the progression of the disease.

Smoking increases the vascular disease which can be a risk factor for dementia.

Additionally, toxins of cigarette increase inflammation and oxidative stress which linked to Alzheimer’s disease growth.

Loneliness and Depression

Loneliness and Depression

There’s a strong collection of research on the risk threats of social disconnection and loneliness to wellbeing and lifespan. Later studies have discovered a connection between depression levels, loneliness, can develop Alzheimer’s.

According to the data of Harvard Aging Brain Study, Women’s Hospital in Boston and expert scientists at Brigham found a connection between subjects’ responses to the three-question evaluation of depression and amyloid levels in the brain. They found a strong connection among individuals with APOE-e4 genes. The outcomes showed up in a 2016 edition of JAMA Psychiatry.

Low Education Level

Low Education Level

Researchers have distinguished an extended risk of Alzheimer’s and different types of dementia among individuals with fewer education levels.

During a mental stimulation theory through classwork, challenging employment, or activity involve mental intellectual which can enhance the brain capacity to utilize cognitive network (systems of neuron-to-neuron linking).

The brain might be less ready to adjust for any Alzheimer’s connected cognitive reduction without this claimed cognitive reserve.

Individuals who have had few formal education levels are more inclined to have vascular risk factors that inflate the risk of Alzheimer’s and might be less ready to bear the cost of proper medical treatment.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure

Alzheimer’s also increases due to high blood pressure. According to researchers, there is a strong connection between middle age and high blood pressure and more likely to develop the disease later.

Because of any stress the heart get pressure to pump the more blood which flows harshly and causes to damage the tiny blood nerves.

Finally, bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol accumulates along tiny cracks in the artery walls. It will result in narrowing of arteries which describe as atherosclerosis causes high blood pressure.

Due to the improper blood flow, the brain’s ability gets reduced to work around the damaged tissues said by Director James Hendrix (Ph.D.) from Alzheimer’s Association – Global science initiatives.

Obesity

Obesity

Obesity can cause Alzheimer’s. Overeating is not one reason to get obesity. Certain health condition also affects lifestyle and leads to obesity.

For example, severe arthritis cause to reduce physical exercise which increases pain and the individual remain inactive.

Additionally, obesity-related ailments alone cause to increase the Alzheimer’s risk.

In some cases, obesity causes high blood pressure and diabetes which automatically put an individual in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Poor physical activity

Poor physical activity

Poor physical activity can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Exercising no less than two times a week during mid age can reduce the chances of having Alzheimer’s in older years.

Poor diet

Poor diet

Individuals who have poor diets such as eating few vegetable and fruits may increase the high risk of Alzheimer’s said by Alzheimer’s Association.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease can have various symptoms which can be different from dementia, but they have an extensive connection between one another. Here are the main symptoms.

Memory loss

Memory loss

During the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss is common symptoms such as forgetting newly learned knowledge. There are some other signs, such as forgetting important events and dates, trying to know about the same information again and again. The individual may depend on memory aids such as electronic reminder devices or notes or need a family member to help in remembering important information.

Difficulties in tackling issues

Difficulties in tackling issues

Some individual may encounter changes in their capacity to plan and pursue an arrangement or work with numbers. They may experience difficulty monitoring month to month bills and following the familiar recipe. These individuals may experience problems in thinking and take any longer to get things done than they did previously. They may possibly make errors while maintaining checkbook balance.

Trouble finishing familiar tasks

Trouble finishing familiar tasks

Individuals with Alzheimer’s frequently think that it’s difficult to finish everyday tasks. At times, individuals may experience difficulty while driving to a familiar area, dealing with a financial plan at work, they may also find difficult to recall the guidelines of their favorite game. Some individuals require help for recording TV program or doing microwave settings.

Confusion with place or time

Confusion with place or time

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease find difficult to keep track of dates, the passage of time, or season. They may find difficult to understand fast happening things or forget about where and how they came somewhere. There will be confusion about remembering the day but calculating it later.

Difficulty recognizing visual images

Alzheimer’s can have symptoms of vision problem which create visual image recognition problem which includes

  • Extreme difficulty while judging distance,
  • Reading Difficulty
  • Understanding color contrast
  • These dilemmas can create a driving difficulty.

The trouble with speaking and writing words

The patient of Alzhemeir’s experience difficulty for joining or continuing conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation or repeat the same sentence. These people also find difficult to remember vocabulary or have no idea about what to speak. They speak or write wrong words such as hand clock for a wristwatch.

Losing things

Losing things

An individual with Alzheimer’s ailment may place things in unfamiliar places. They forget things where they kept it and this problem happen frequently.

Poor decision

Alzheimer’s find difficulty while making a decision or any judgement.

For example, they may pay more money to telemarketers by making a poor judgment while dealing. They don’t feel important to keep them clean or groomed.

Social activities withdrawal

Social activities withdrawal

An individual start to limit their involvement in social activities, hobbies, and sports or work project during Alzheimer’s. They often find a problem with finishing a hobby or playing a favorite sport. Due to these frequent forgetfulness, they feel awkward to stay social.

Changes in personality and mood

Changes in personality and mood

During Alzheimer’s people may experience a change in personality and mood symptoms. It makes them suspicious, fearful, confused, anxious and depressed. In this disease, people may feel easily upset with family or friends especially when they come out of comfort zone.

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

The diagnosis of this disease includes brain tissues analysis, mental abilities, dementia type, and other related diseases.

The doctor may begin with analyzing medical and family history. The doctor may also require detail information about the following things such as

  • Ongoing disease
  • Specific symptoms
  • Particular diet
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Lifestyle habits

Alzheimer’s tests

Your doctor may suggest several tests after knowing the above details. The Alzheimer’s test includes

  • Neurological test
  • Mental test
  • Physical test
  • Imaging test

The test may begin with the assessment of long and short-term memory. The doctor may also test place and time orientation. The doctor may ask questions such as

  • Which day it is?
  • Name of the prime minister of the country

The physical diagnosis involves heart rate analysis, blood pressure test, and body temperature. There is also a requirement of blood and urine test.

The next step of diagnosis involves neurological test such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease. During this test, the doctor will examine muscle tone, reflexes, and speech.

After that, the doctor may suggest brain imaging which includes:

  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging: It helps to find out bleeding, inflammation and structural issues.
  • CT scan – Computed tomography: It will show the abnormalities of brain parts.
  • PET scan – Positron emission tomography: This test helps to detect the plaque accumulation.

Alzheimer’s Treatment

Alzheimer’s Treatment

No one yet found the cure of Alzheimer’s disease, but the treatment with medications can relieve the symptoms and slow down the disease growth.

During the initial stage of Alzheimer’s, you may get prescriptions of medicines such as rivastigmine (Exelon) or donepezil (Aricept). These medications help to balance the increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a form of neurotransmitter which assists memory power.

During the treatment of medium to severe Alzheimer’s, you will get the following medications such as

  • Memantine (Namenda)
  • Donepezil (Aricept)

Memantine helps to stop the effect of extra glutamate. Glutamate is a chemical released by the brain. During Alzheimer’s this chemical release in a higher amount which can damage the brain cells.

Other medicines include

  • Antianxiety medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics

This medication helps to relieve Alzheimer’s symptoms such as restlessness, depression, agitation, aggression, and hallucinations.

Other treatments

Apart from medication, changes in lifestyle can help to manage the disease symptoms. Your doctor may create the following strategies to help you.

  • Focusing task
  • Limiting Confusion
  • Skip confrontation
  • Take enough rest
  • Avoid stress

Some people consider that vitamin E can help to limit the decline of mental ability, but it requires more research. Do not take vitamin E supplement without your doctor advice. Vitamin E can interfere with the treatment medications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

As there is no cure, the researcher found that lifestyle changes help in prevention steps at an early stage. Here are the Alzheimer’s preventive actions.

  • Eat green vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Begin cognitive training
  • Eat more antioxidant
  • Keep an active social life

Alzheimer’s can become complicated over the time if you avoid noticing symptoms. It’s important to take care of yourself to prevent the developing symptoms.

People with non-Alzheimer’s require to stay aware of the disease if they have a family history. Take care of your old age family member who is prone to get the disease.

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