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FAQs about Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's: What you need to know as a senior citizen
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer's disease is a neurological condition that worsens with time and affects a person's memory and other cognitive abilities to the point where it interferes with day-to-day activities.
Beyond the age of 65, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease increases approximately every five years. Alzheimer's disease may affect one-third of all people who are 85 years of age or older.
Although getting older is the major known risk factor for Alzheimer's, the disease is not completely related to ageing. In fact, many senior citizens don't even get it and live well in their 90s.
It is common to have concerns regarding Alzheimer's disease and how it affects a person's life. This article aims to address some of those questions and eliminate some misconceptions and myths about Alzheimer's.
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia. A person with dementia experiences a loss of thinking, memory and reasoning abilities, which affects their daily tasks. For senior citizens, Alzheimer's disease is the most typical cause of dementia.
What are the early symptoms of Alzheimer's?
The earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease might vary from person to person, although memory issues are often among the symptoms. The very early stages of Alzheimer's disease may also be indicated by a decline in other cognitive abilities, including the ability to express oneself clearly, problems with vision or spatial awareness and decreased reasoning or judgement.
What are the stages of Alzheimer's?
The following are various stages of Alzheimer's disease:
Mild Stage (sometimes called early-stage)
A person with mild Alzheimer's disease may appear to be in good condition, but they are having increasing difficulty understanding what is going on around them. The individual and their family gradually become aware that something is wrong. Concerns may include:
Loss of memory
Improper decision-making due to poor judgement
Deterioration in initiative and spontaneity
Takes longer to finish regular tasks
Difficulty in managing finances and paying bills
Wandering and becoming confused
Putting things in random places or losing things
Changes in mood and personality
Increased aggression or anxiousness
In this stage, more stringent surveillance and care are required, which can be challenging for many partners and families. Some of the signs could be:
Increased confusion and memory loss
Inability to pick up new skills
Issues with reading, writing and dealing with numbers as well as language difficulties
Having trouble thinking logically and organising one's thoughts
Reduced focus capacity
Issues adjusting to new circumstances
Difficulty performing complex chores
Having trouble recognising family & friends
Delusions, paranoia and hallucinations
Impulsive actions, such as changing into new clothes at inappropriate times or locations or using profane language, as well as inappropriate angry outbursts
Particularly in the late afternoon or evening, restlessness, agitation, worry, mood swings and wandering are common
Repetitive speech or motion, infrequent muscular jerks
Severe Stage (sometimes called late-stage)
People who have severe Alzheimer's disease fully rely on others for their care and are unable to communicate. The person may spend most of the day in bed as the sickness progresses. Their signs frequently consist of:
Lack of communication
Loss of weight
Having trouble swallowing
Moaning, writhing or gurgling
An increase in sleep
Failure of bladder and bowel control
What are the causes of Alzheimer's?
There may be a genetic component to early-onset Alzheimer's, which appears between a person's 30s and mid-60s. The complicated chain of ageing-related cognitive changes that take place over many years is what gives rise to late-onset Alzheimer's disease, which often appears in a person's mid-60s.
A lot of people are concerned about getting Alzheimer's disease, particularly if a family member has already had it. It's not certain that you'll get the disease just because someone in your family did. However, it can imply that you are more prone to get it.
According to research, apart from genetics, health, environment and lifestyle aspects are likely contributing factors to Alzheimer’s. Depending on the individual, each of these characteristics may play a different role in elevating or lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in the elderly.
Is there a cure for Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's disease has no known cure or treatment as of now. Some sources say that items like coconut oil or dietary supplements can treat or postpone the development of Alzheimer's disease. However, these claims are not backed up by any scientific analysis.
Is it possible to prevent Alzheimer's?
There is currently no credible study on how to prevent Alzheimer's disease or age-related cognitive deterioration. What is known is that living a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and managing blood pressure, can reduce the chance of developing certain chronic diseases and improve general health and wellbeing.
Note: If you feel that you are showing signs of Alzheimer’s, please talk to your doctor. Your doctor will listen to your issues, arrange tests, give you advice and refer you to a specialist if necessary.