What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that leads to a gradual loss of memory with time. Initially, it may only cause minor forgetfulness like forgetting names of people, familiar places, directions followed by anxiety and confusion. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is mostly seen in aged people. The disease limits one’s social interaction and gets extremely severe in its final stages.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Loss of recent memory
- Forgetting directions, names and places
- Difficulty in planning and making judgments
- Mood swings
- Limited social interaction
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Drastic changes in one’s personality
Alzheimer’s is mainly caused by death of the brain cells which makes the brain shrink. Other causes of Alzheimer’s aren’t completely discovered by doctors yet. Some believe that people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels develop a greater risk of having Alzheimer’s. The development of abnormal structures in the brain could also lead to Alzheimer’s. The disease might be running in one’s family lines and it might get transferred to the next generation through the genes.
The following factors increase the risk of Alzheimer’s in people:
- Age- Researches show that a majority of people who get affected by Alzheimer’s are above 65
- Genetics- The disease could be running in one’s family line and might get transferred to the next generation.
- Down syndrome- Patients of Down syndrome are prone to an early onset of Alzheimer’s
- Head Injury- A violent injury to the head increases the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Unhealthy lifestyle- People with unhealthy eating habits, high cholesterol levels and obesity are more prone to Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes following a balanced diet, exercising regularly, keeping cholesterol levels under check and adopting measures for improving heart health.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor diagnoses the disease by detecting the characteristic symptoms and conducting the following tests:
- Physical and neurological test
- Blood tests
- Mental status and neuropsychological tests
- Brain imaging