Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease, named after the doctor who first described it (Alois Alzheimer), is a physical disease that affects the brain. For most people with Alzheimer's, the earliest symptoms are memory lapses. In particular, they may have difficulty recalling recent events and learning new information. These symptoms occur because the early damage in Alzheimer's is usually to a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which has a central role in day-to-day memory. Memory for life events that happened a long time ago is often unaffected in the early stages of the disease. Memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease increasingly interferes with daily life as the condition progresses. The person may: lose items (eg keys, glasses) around the house, struggle to find the right word in a conversation or forget someone's name, forget about recent conversations or events, get lost in a familiar place or on a familiar journey, forget appointments or anniversaries. Although memory difficulties are usually the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's, someone with the disease will also have – or go on to develop – problems with other aspects of thinking, reasoning, perception or communication. They might have difficulties with: language – struggling to follow a conversation or repeating themselves; visuospatial skills – problems judging distance or seeing objects in three dimensions; navigating stairs or parking the car become much harder; concentrating, planning or organising – difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (eg cooking a meal); orientation – becoming confused or losing track of the day or date. A person in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's will often have changes in their mood. They may become anxious, irritable or depressed. Many people become withdrawn and lose interest in activities and hobbies.


Dementia disease

Dementia is not a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms such as impairments to memory, communication, and thinking. While the likelihood of having dementia increases with age, it is not a normal part of aging. Stages of Dementia Dementia Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline In this stage the person functions normally, has no memory loss, and is mentally healthy. People with NO dementia would be considered to be in Stage 1.
No Dementia Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline This stage is used to describe normal forgetfulness associated with aging; for example, forgetfulness of names and where familiar objects were left. Symptoms are not evident to loved ones or the physician.
No Dementia Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline This stage includes increased forgetfulness, slight difficulty concentrating, decreased work performance. People may get lost more often or have difficulty finding the right words. At this stage, a person’s loved ones will begin to notice a cognitive decline. Average duration: 7 years before onset of dementia
Early-stage Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline This stage includes difficulty concentrating, decreased memory of recent events, and difficulties managing finances or traveling alone to new locations. People have trouble completing complex tasks efficiently or accurately and may be in denial about their symptoms. They may also start withdrawing from family or friends, because socialization becomes difficult. At this stage a physician can detect clear cognitive problems during a patient interview and exam. Average duration: 2 years
Mid-Stage Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline People in this stage have major memory deficiencies and need some assistance to complete their daily activities (dressing, bathing, preparing meals). Memory loss is more prominent and may include major relevant aspects of current lives; for example, people may not remember their address or phone number and may not know the time or day or where they are. Average duration: 1.5 years
Mid-Stage Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline (Middle Dementia) People in Stage 6 require extensive assistance to carry out daily activities. They start to forget names of close family members and have little memory of recent events. Many people can remember only some details of earlier life. They also have difficulty counting down from 10 and finishing tasks. Incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control) is a problem in this stage. Ability to speak declines. Personality changes, such as delusions (believing something to be true that is not), compulsions (repeating a simple behavior, such as cleaning), or anxiety and agitation may occur. Average duration: 2.5 years
Late-Stage Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline (Late Dementia) People in this stage have essentially no ability to speak or communicate. They require assistance with most activities (e.g., using the toilet, eating). They often lose psychomotor skills, for example, the ability to walk. Average duration: 2.5 year Types of dementia Alzheimer's is characterized by "plaques" between the dying cells in the brain and "tangles" within the cells (both are due to protein abnormalities). The brain tissue in a person with Alzheimer's has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections, and the total brain size shrinks. Dementia with Lewy bodies is a neurodegenerative condition linked to abnormal structures in the brain. The brain changes involve a protein called alpha-synuclein. Mixed dementia refers to a diagnosis of two or three types occurring together. For instance, a person may show both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia at the same time. Parkinson's disease is also marked by the presence of Lewy bodies. Although Parkinson's is often considered a disorder of movement, people with Parkinson's can also go on to develop dementia symptoms. Huntington's disease is characterized by specific types of uncontrolled movements but also includes dementia. Other disorders leading to symptoms of dementia include: Frontotemporal dementia (also known as Pick's disease) Normal pressure hydrocephalus (when excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain) Posterior cortical atrophy (resembles changes seen in Alzheimer's disease, but in a different part of the brain) Down syndrome (increases the likelihood of young-onset Alzheimer's) Dementia - Treatment Overview Some cases of dementia are caused by medical conditions that can be treated, and treatment can restore some or all mental function. But most of the time, dementia cannot be reversed. Treatment when dementia can be reversed Sometimes treating the cause of dementia helps the dementia. For example, the person might: Take vitamins for a deficiency of vitamin B12. Take thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism. Have surgery to remove a brain tumor or to reduce pressure on the brain. Stop or change medicines that are causing memory loss or confusion. Take medicines to treat an infection, such as encephalitis. Take medicine to treat depression. Get treatment for reversible conditions caused by AIDS. Palliative care Palliative care is a kind of care for people who have a serious illness. It's different from care to cure the illness. Its goal is to improve a person's quality of life-not just in body but also in mind and spirit. Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer's disease, named after the doctor who first described it (Alois Alzheimer), is a physical disease that affects the brain. For most people with Alzheimer's, the earliest symptoms are memory lapses. In particular, they may have difficulty recalling recent events and learning new information. These symptoms occur because the early damage in Alzheimer's is usually to a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which has a central role in day-to-day memory. Memory for life events that happened a long time ago is often unaffected in the early stages of the disease. Memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease increasingly interferes with daily life as the condition progresses. The person may: lose items (eg keys, glasses) around the house, struggle to find the right word in a conversation or forget someone's name, forget about recent conversations or events, get lost in a familiar place or on a familiar journey, forget appointments or anniversaries. Although memory difficulties are usually the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's, someone with the disease will also have – or go on to develop – problems with other aspects of thinking, reasoning, perception or communication. They might have difficulties with: language – struggling to follow a conversation or repeating themselves; visuospatial skills – problems judging distance or seeing objects in three dimensions; navigating stairs or parking the car become much harder; concentrating, planning or organising – difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (eg cooking a meal); orientation – becoming confused or losing track of the day or date. A person in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's will often have changes in their mood. They may become anxious, irritable or depressed. Many people become withdrawn and lose interest in activities and hobbies