What is Alzheimer? - Causes, Symptoms, Stages & Treatment
What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
The exact cause of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, caused by abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, is still unknown.
Conditions that can be counted among the causes of Alzheimer's disease include:
- Vascular disease,
- Past trauma,
- Family history of Alzheimer's disease
- Past depression,
- Low education level,
- Sleeping disorders,
- Physical inactivity,
- Inadequacy and unbalanced nutrition,
- Smoking and tobacco use.
How is Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosed?
When a doctor is consulted for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, information about the patient and his family is obtained, and the person's neurological examination is performed. After the neurological examination, if the doctor deems it necessary, a neurocognitive test, X-ray images such as MR, CT, PET, and specific hormones, vitamins, and other essential values must be tested. After the test, the person can be reevaluated, and in some cases, genetic testing may be done to clarify the diagnosis. Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed after all the consequences and primarily based on the course of the disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?
Forgetfulness, a symptom of Alzheimer's disease, is considered moderate in the early stages, but over time, even simple behaviors such as chatting become ineffective. The disease reduces patients' quality of life and negatively affects their lives and the lives of those who care for them.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease vary in the early, middle, and late stages of the disease, and the symptoms are as follows:
1) Early Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Early signs of Alzheimer's disease; confusion, forgetting things, not remembering things or people's names, lack of determination, talking about the same thing repeatedly, feeling anxious, and displaying aggressive behavior.
2) Symptoms of Moderate Alzheimer's Disease
The first stage of the disease is known as the post-stage. Excitement and anger attacks, hallucinations, doubts about family and friends, problems in speaking, aggressive behaviors, inability to adapt to foreign environments, denial of events, events that are not in memory, obsessive movements, confusion in time perception, and depression are among the symptoms of middle-stage Alzheimer's disease.
3) Symptoms of Late-Stage Alzheimer's Disease
Symptoms of late-stage Alzheimer's disease are also the last stages of the disease. Speech disorder, short- and long-term memory problems, eating difficulties, weight loss, urinary incontinence, and inability to move on their own are manifested in the advanced stages of the disease.
What Are the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's disease has stages, and the steps are as follows:
1) Preclinical Stage:
This stage is called preclinical, and this picture may continue for a long time. The early stage is the pre-stage, and it was a stage where the patient did not realize the situation and did not go to the doctor for this disease. It is the stage in which Alzheimer's disease does not appear in the necessary symptoms for diagnosing the early stage.
2) Early Stage:
Symptoms of this stage are manifested by mild forgetfulness. This can often present as mild age-related amnesia and a problem with the ability to concentrate. At this stage, the patient repeats the same questions repeatedly, has difficulty thinking abstractly, gets frustrated for no reason, sometimes feels excessive drowsiness, stutters in part of the sentence, and remembers names. Patients may become aware of memory problems at this stage, and people around the patient may also be aware of these disorders. However, these symptoms are often cited as the cause of fatigue and insomnia.
3) Middle Stage:
This stage can last for many years. In addition to the early stage symptoms, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to follow the rules in society, remember events, behaviors, read, write. They experience difficulty speaking, agitated moods, occasional outbursts of anger, difficulty using initially comfortable things, major problems learning new things, problems planning, discomfort with complex activities. Addresses and telephone numbers for these patients should be planned so that the patient can always carry them with them. In addition, as the disease progresses, some people may forget their name, forget the name of their spouse or child, frequently cry, sit or lie down for hours. Personality changes may also occur during daily activities such as choosing the right clothes, dressing, brushing teeth. While pessimism and withdrawal symptoms may occur, hallucinations and delusions may also occur. Many Alzheimer's patients may have sleep problems. While some patients sleep very often, some patients experience insomnia for a long time.
4) Late Stage:
People with Alzheimer's disease lose many physical abilities at this stage, such as walking, sitting, bathing, and eating. They may lose control of urination and defecation, cannot pronounce certain words or phrases correctly, need help with most activities. In the final stage, the patient may be bedridden. Therefore, while the risk of infection increases, the risk of catching pneumonia increases considerably.
What Can Be Done to Avoid Alzheimer's Disease?
Various measures can be taken to prevent Alzheimer's disease. If you eat regularly from an early age, avoid excessive alcohol intake, control sugar and cholesterol levels, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, Alzheimer's disease can be delayed.
How Should Alzheimer's Disease Be Treated?
Alzheimer's patients may face many difficult situations due to their behavior and circumstances. During this time, reaching the most vulnerable and vulnerable patients is more important than ever. First of all, the relatives of the patients should show understanding. Achieving a standard of living will be easier if the caregiver can better understand the patient and develop ways to communicate empathy with the patient. However, as patients may have difficulty understanding what is being said, patience should be sought and ways to describe the event in different ways. It should not be forgotten that the patient remembers incorrectly and may be insistent on this issue. Do not argue or get angry with the patient. It is essential to make sure that the patient takes medicine regularly. The patient mustn't be allowed to do work that could be dangerous. While speaking, the same topic should not be moved to another issue. While maintaining the integrity of the subject makes it easier to understand, short sentences should be said simultaneously. Following these recommendations will make the patient's lifestyle healthier.
How Is Alzheimer's Disease Treated?
Although research on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease continues, there is no definitive cure for Alzheimer's disease yet. However, there are several treatments to slow the progression of the disease and alleviate the current condition. Individual therapy usually begins with a low dose of the drug, which will be reviewed in the future and increases as needed. One of the most common neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease, is a type of dementia, a progressive disease that usually occurs after age 60 and is sometimes called geriatric disease. Alzheimer's disease is caused by a buildup of protein in the brain, and the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in nerve cell tissue in the brain increases over time. When the protein is formed, the connection between nerve cells in the brain is broken. Unrelated neurons begin to die, negatively affecting a person's mental functioning.