History of Alzheimer’s and its First Detection 

The history of Alzheimer's disease began in the early 1900s when Alois Alzheimer observed a patient with memory loss, language problems, and strange behaviour. 

He examined the brain of the patient after her death and discovered the typical plaques and tangles associated with the disease. In 1974, Alzheimer's disease was reported for the first time in the United States.

Causes of Alzheimer's

While Alzheimer's disease's exact cause is unknown, scientists believe it is influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

Alzheimer's disease is associated with certain risk factors such as aging, family history, head injuries, and specific health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. 

The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease initially involve mild memory loss and gradually lead to more severe cognitive decline, behavioural alterations, and loss of self-sufficiency.

What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer's? 

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease are :

  • Mild memory loss, especially of recent events
  • Difficulty with problem-solving and planning
  • Time and place confusion
  • Changes in mood and personality, including depression, anxiety, and aggression
  • Difficulty with communication and language, including finding the right words and following conversations.
  • The trouble with spatial awareness and navigating familiar environments

These symptoms can worsen over time, leading to more severe cognitive impairment, loss of independence, and a decline in physical health.

Stage 1: Symptoms do not Appear

In Alzheimer's, brain changes begin before symptoms are noticeable, just like in many diseases.

The preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease starts 10 to 15 years before symptoms appear. The preclinical stage of the disease does not have a treatment, but we hope that in the future, we will be able to provide medicines that will stop the disease progression before people develop symptoms.

To detect Alzheimer's symptoms at their earliest stage, it is important to keep up with regular primary health care visits. 

Stage 2: Forgetting the Basics

We all forget things from time to time, and this is more likely to happen with age. During the early stages of Alzheimer's, forgetfulness can look very much like normal aging.

There might be memory lapses in your loved one, such as forgetting people's names or where they left their keys, but they will still be able to drive, work, and socialize. These memory lapses, however, become more frequent over time.

Stage 3: Symptoms of Memory Problems

It will become more difficult for people to blame aging at this stage, as they will notice noticeable changes. When a person reaches this point, their daily routine is disrupted, which is why they are often diagnosed.

Misplacing objects and forgetting names are not the only difficulties in this stage. The following may happen to your loved one:

  • Not being able to recall recently read books or magazines
  • Having difficulty remembering plans and organizing
  • Having difficulty recalling a word or name

You will likely see your loved one's anxiety increase during this time, and they may even deny that anything is wrong. In the absence of medical attention, these symptoms will only worsen. You can manage symptoms by discussing treatment options with your physician.

Stage 4: Loss of Memory as well as Other Symptoms

As a result of brain damage at this stage, language, organization, and calculations are often affected outside of memory.  Your loved one may have difficulty performing daily tasks because of these issues..

You will see your loved one have major difficulties with memory during this stage - which can last for many years. Despite their age, they may still remember important details about their lives, such as their marital status or state of residence. This stage also includes the following challenges:

There is confusion about the time and where they are on the calendar

  • Loss of direction or wandering off
  • Restless sleep at night and daytime sleep
  • Dressing inappropriately for the weather or occasion

At this stage, it's common to feel moody or withdrawn during situations requiring a lot of thinking, such as social gatherings.

Symptoms of brain damage may include feeling suspicious of others, feeling depressed, or feeling uninterested.

Stage 5: Loss of Independence

It may have been possible for your loved one to live on their own without any significant challenges. Although you occasionally checked on them, they mostly managed without your regular assistance.

A person may have difficulty learning new things and may find it difficult to do simple tasks like getting dressed.

Stage 6: Symptoms that are Severe

As an independent person, you have to know how to react to emergency situations like a fire alarm or a phone ringing. Alzheimer's patients find this difficult during stage 6. 

It will be more difficult for your loved one to manage their own care at this time and they will become more dependent on others.

A significant change in personality is possible, including anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Behavioral strategies and medicines may both be helpful in these instances, so let your care team know about them. 

There is no universal pattern of behavior changes associated with the disease, and some patients may remain content throughout the disease.

Stage 7: Physically Uncontrollable

Alzheimer's disease destroys brain cells, causing severe mental and physical impairments. As they struggle to communicate and delegate tasks effectively, your loved one's body might shut down.

The needs of patients are significantly increasing at this point. For example, a person who is having difficulty walking, sitting, and swallowing may require round-the-clock care.

How can Alzheimer’s be Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Alzheimer's typically involves a comprehensive medical evaluation, including a physical exam, neurological assessment, cognitive testing, and brain imaging. It is impossible to make a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's through a single test, but doctors may use a combination of tests.

Possible Treatment for Alzheimer’s

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, various treatments can help alleviate symptoms and enhance the individual's quality of life. Medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine can help improve memory and cognition, while lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy diet, and social engagement may also be beneficial. Additionally, caregivers and family members can provide support and assistance to help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease maintain their independence and dignity.

How to Reduce the Chances of Developing Alzheimer's? 

Reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease involves adopting a healthy lifestyle and keeping the brain healthy. 

You can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by following these steps:

Exercise Regularly: 

It is possible to reduce cognitive decline by improving blood flow to the brain with regular physical activity.

Eat a Healthy Diet: 

It is beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease to eat a balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Stay Mentally Active: 

A well-engaged brain reduces the risk of cognitive decline by engaging in activities such as reading, solving puzzles, and socializing.

Manage Chronic Conditions: 

Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Get Enough Sleep: 

Restful sleep promotes brain health and reduces cognitive decline.

How to Take Care of Someone Who has Developed Alzheimer's?

Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging, but there are steps that caregivers can take to help manage the disease and improve quality of life. Here are some tips for taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Establish a routine: Routines can help people with Alzheimer's disease feel more stable and structured.
  • Provide a safe environment: Hazards can be removed and the home can be modified to reduce injury and fall risks.
  • Communicate effectively: Communicating clearly and using simple language can help improve communication with individuals with Alzheimer's.
  • Seek support: Caregivers should seek support from family members, friends, and support groups to help manage the challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's patients' lifespans vary widely depending on many factors, including age, overall health, and the stage of the disease at diagnosis. 

According to the Alzheimer's Association, patients with Alzheimer's disease typically live between four and eight years after diagnosis. Some people may remain healthy for up to 20 years after symptoms appear, while others may decline more quickly.

Final Words:

If you or a loved one is experiencing any symptoms indicative of Alzheimer's disease. Take proper precautions to prevent this disease. If you are suffering from this disease, you should contact health care right away because proper treatment is crucial.

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