Alzheimer’s is serious mental health disease that interferes with one’s behavior, memory, and their thinking and reasoning capacity. It is the commonest form of dementia, a scientific term used to refer to memory loss among other intellectual abilities that can interfere with the day-to-day activities of an individual. Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for over 80% of all cases of Dementia in the world today. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease will develop slowly and gradually, worsening over time. As the disease progresses it becomes so severe that it interferes with someone’s thinking ability, thus causing memory lapses and stuff.
Note however that just because someone has a problem with their memory doesn’t mean they are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Actually, many people do not as there are very many different things that cause memory loss. As such, if you discover you are suffering from memory loss, it is best to pay your doctor a visit so the root cause can be determined and treatment sought out early enough when the condition is still manageable.
Being a progressive disease, Alzheimer’s tends to get worse over time with the symptoms progressing from mild to worse. The memory loss tends to be very mild and appear ‘normal’ in the early stages but with time as the disease progresses the later stages someone loses the ability to have a normal conversation or even respond to the simplest facts in their immediate environment. According to studies, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death today in the US. It takes an average of 8 years after the initial symptoms are noticeable for someone to live, but survival ranges from 4-20 years with good management of the condition, the patient’s age, and the presence of other health conditions.
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer but the good news is that medical research and studies is continuing in an effort to find a way that would delay the onset, prevent the development of the disease and even treat and permanently cure Alzheimer’s disease for good. The treatments available today can only slow down, albeit temporarily the symptoms from getting worse, thus improving the quality of life and alleviating pain.
The commonest initial symptom of the disease is trouble memorizing recently learnt information. As is with any other part of the body, the brain will change as you age. Generally, old people tend to suffer from occasional memory loss and difficulty remembering some things; but that is always it; no complications and stuff. However, frequent memory loss, major confusion and changes in how the mind works could be signs of deteriorating brain cells which lead to permanent brain failure.
The first changes that occur in the human brain affects the part of the brain where learning takes place, no wonder the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s is trouble remembering recently learned stuff. As the condition progresses in other parts of the brain it leads to very severe symptoms such as mood swings, behavior changes, disorientation, intensified confusion regarding time, place, and events, baseless suspicions about friends, family, and professional caretakers, difficulty in speaking, coordinating movement, or even swallowing something, and lastly serious and permanent memory loss.
Note that there are so many things and medical conditions today that affects how the brain functions which can lead to disruption of memory. As such, if you experience any considerable memory problems it is advisable you talk to your family doctor as soon as you can. This is because there is enough evidence to believe that early diagnosis of mental health complications and intervention ways can significantly improve the condition, and professional support and different treatment options available can significantly boost the quality of life of someone suffering from mental health problems.
Alzheimer’s and the human brain
Science has it that the brain contains over 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) whereby the neurons are interconnected to facilitate effective communication. The neurons are further subdivided into groups, with each group being assigned a special task. There are those that are involved with learning, thinking, remembering, hearing, smelling, and seeing among other bodily tasks and functions. For the brain cells to perform their assigned task, they work like small factories where they get supplies, manufacture energy, build equipment, and then get rid of unwanted waste. To ensure there is effective communication between the cells there needs to be good coordination and lots of oxygen and fuel.
Scientists have reason to believe that the Alzheimer’s disease interferes with the normal functioning of the cell’s factory, but the root cause of the trouble is not yet known. The same way a breakdown and backup in one system of a real factory can interfere with overall operation of all other systems that is how the human brain systems work. As the damage continues to spread, the cells will lose their competence to perform their tasks, and eventually end up dying, causing permanent changes in the human brain.