Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that permanently damages brain cells, impairing memory, mental ability and emotional responses.
Although it is not possible to cure this disease, Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented by early diagnosis.
When Alzheimer’s disease occurs, human brain cells die, halving in some areas of the brain.
The patient can no longer remember the information, there are difficulties in performing the usual actions, reasoning deteriorates, the personality changes – he becomes grumpy, nervous, selfish.
As the disease progresses, memory disorders become more pronounced, the patient no longer recognizes relatives and the environment, it is possible to constantly observe psycho-emotional disorders, mobility becomes limited, often patients completely depend on the care of others.
Scientists still do not agree on the exact cause of this disease. Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are thought to be heredity, various head injuries, prolonged exposure to a magnetic field or chemicals, circulatory problems, heart attack or stroke, diabetes and other conditions.
The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are most common around the age of 65. However, there are cases where signs of the disease can be seen earlier – a small proportion of patients with Alzheimer’s disease are between 40 and 60 years old.
In most cases, the disease is diagnosed late, after about ten years, when it has reached a more dangerous stage, and it has become much more difficult to delay its development. In addition, some older people are not properly examined, symptoms are not observed, and they do not make the diagnosis.
It is quite difficult to spot the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but it may hide the serious illness behind some seemingly innocent signs. Pay due attention to yourself and your loved ones – if you notice anything that may show illness, contact a specialist.
The Patient Notices That Something Is Wrong With The Memory
When the disease has just begun, the patient can observe that something is not right – the memory has become worse, but thinking is slower.
At the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease last year, several researchers emphasized that most patients who later developed symptoms of dementia initially felt anxious about their condition.
They emphasize that a person can notice changes faster than others perceive them, therefore one should not ignore one’s observations.
The Patient Forgets Important Events That Have Happened Only Recently
It is worth paying attention if a relative suddenly forgets an important conversation that has taken place very recently, or some other recent and important event.
Of course, forgetfulness sometimes affects everyone, but one of the main prerequisites that helps to distinguish Alzheimer’s patients – they most rarely remember that they have forgotten something.
Suddenly, a Person can No Longer Fully Manage Finances
If one of your loved ones suddenly no longer pays their bills on time, cannot plan their budget or otherwise changes their financial habits for seemingly unreasonable reasons, becoming less responsible, we should also not ignore it.
The memory loss inherent in Alzheimer’s disease has a direct impact on daily life and makes it difficult to perform routine activities in the past.
According to research, one of the first signs noticed by relatives of patients is the inability to fully manage financial resources and expenditures.
The Patient May Lose Orientation In The Room
At the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient may lose orientation in the room. In addition, it is possible to get confused in places he seems to know well.
Disorientation can occur when even slight adjustments are made in the daily course, such as choosing a slightly different route home from the store.
A Person Can Avoid Social Interaction
One of the early signs can also be the difficulty of having a conversation with peers, especially when the communication is in a larger group.
Patients have showed that in the early stages of the disease, they have refused invitations from friends and relatives for lunch or to meet – they felt unable to follow the conversation, receive jokes and answer questions.
The Patient can No Longer Plan His Time
Changes in nerve cells affect the part of the brain that plans and doing over one job at a time.
It is worth paying attention if a person who used to be happy to organize various events can no longer do it and if there are sudden problems in planning the daily work.
7 Stages Of Development
In the early stages of the disease, there are often no pronounced symptoms that show its development.
Based on the medical history of family members, it is possible to be aware of your or your relatives’ risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have a family history of the disease and you or another person is at risk, it may be helpful to talk to your GP about the quality of your memory and cognitive abilities.
Mild Stage Of The Disease
In the mild stage of the disease, there are usually isolated episodes of memory loss, which are often difficult to detect and do not give rise to concerns about possible deterioration in health.
Changes in a person’s behavior are sometimes noticed by family members. At this stage of Alzheimer’s disease, it can also be difficult for your doctor to diagnose the disease, as memory loss can also be a normal age-related sign.
Mildly Progressive Stage Of The Disease
At this stage, the disease may cause a significant worsening of symptoms in some patients, while in others it may be less pronounced.
During this time, the patient may unsuccessfully try to come up with words to describe things or phenomena. The disease may impair the ability to remember the names of recently known people.
A person may have difficulty coping with work tasks or have problems with planning and organizing. If you experience several of these symptoms, a doctor’s appointment or consultation may be helpful.
Moderately Progressive Stage
As Alzheimer’s disease develops, the symptoms become more obvious and cause problems with simple daily tasks. Losing the ability to solve problems can make it difficult to perform basic math problems, judging adequately based on a broader context.
One may not remember details from past events. This is more relevant for short-term memory, such as not being able to name what a person ate for breakfast. Problems with timely payment of bills can also occur because of memory loss.
At this stage, a person can forget where and when he is. It becomes difficult for the patient to navigate. An individual may lose certain pieces of information from his memory, unable to remember, for example, a home address or a telephone number.
As the patient’s sense of time diminishes, he may wear clothing that is not suitable for the current season. They lose the ability to perform intellectual functions at this stage.
Memory loss is becoming more pronounced, language disorders are becoming more noticeable, and it is becoming more difficult to recognize people and things.
Caring for your body is often increasingly neglected. Patients may develop a variety of mania, such as a firm belief that something has been stolen. As the disease progresses, mental abilities are lost and one becomes more and more dependent on others.
Severe Stage, Exacerbation Of The Disease
At this stage, the patient has lost understanding of the surrounding events and cannot remember the past accurately. The patient has increasing difficulties in taking care of himself and following the daily routine.
At this stage, patients can still respond to non-verbal stimuli with joy, grief, but may also suffer from hallucinations and become increasingly anxious. This is especially true in the late afternoons or evenings.
We may detect significant personality changes, for example, consciousness may appear far away from the specific situation. Out-of-context paranoid thoughts can arise about close family members.
Significant Exacerbation Of The Disease
The ability to perform daily life activities is completely lost, and a person depends on a caregiver. In the last stage of the disease, the disease is no longer curable, so the patient is close to death.
At this stage, the patient may have lost the ability to respond to the environment or communicate, although it is possible that the person may still express a few words.
They also lose gut and bladder control. In this condition, the patient is no longer aware of his illness and needs help with almost all daily activities.
Because the disease results in the loss of a person’s physical function because of brain cell death, the patient may not swallow saliva or food.