By Candice Sabrina
With an estimated 5-million plus Americans alone suffering from Alzheimers disease, there is no denying this condition is a real problem. With no definitive cause or cure, Alzheimers is characterized by its slow, but steady ravaging of a person’s mental capacity.
The symptoms of the disease vary a bit from person to person and also between stages. Very early signs of the disease include very minor forgetfulness, which can be attributed to many other causes, as well. As the disease progresses, there is a greater loss of mental abilities. In its final stages, Alzheimers patients are typically totally dependant on caregivers for everything from feedings to tying their shoes.
The disease operates somewhat like a thief in the night, coming in and gradually stripping away a person’s memories, abilities and even identity. It can take up to 20 years for this condition to fully progress, or as little as five. The condition has great impacts not only on the patient, but also family and friends. Loved ones with this disease are very likely to completely forget their families as this condition progresses.
While research into the causes and potential cures continues, right now there are no solid answers. Some risk factors have been identified, however. They include family history and age. The disease is known to strike mostly those age 65 and over, although much younger cases have been documented. The genetic link seems to be strong, but it must be noted that not all patients with this disease have a family history of it.
Alzheimers itself is characterized by the formation of brain abnormalities over time. These plaques and tangles are caused by certain proteins, but how the tangles and plaques form exactly is still under study.
While in its earlier phases, Alzheimers is often mistaken for “normal” aging. This disease is anything but. Although there is no known cure, there are some medications and therapies that have worked in helping slow the progress of the condition. A proper diagnosis is vital, however.
Sadly, this condition is often the one chosen to label many other forms of dementia. The predominance of the disease is generally why this happens. The reality is that there are many, many other conditions that can have very similar symptoms, especially in the early and middle stages. Many of these other conditions are treatable, reversible and even short-lived. It is extremely important to rule out other potential causes for symptoms before an Alzheimers diagnosis is settled upon.
If the symptoms of Alzheimers are suspected in a loved one, it is very important to seek help. It is also important to look for other potential causes for the behavior. Things such as bad medication combinations, extreme stress, normal aging and even other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s can evoke similar symptoms in some cases.
With more than five million cases diagnosed in the United States along, there is no doubt that Alzheimers is a major problem for the aging community. The race is on to an answer to this most troubling of medical conditions. Robbing people of their minds.
For more information on Alzheimers, try visiting www.helpwithalzheimers.com – a website that specializes in providing Alzheimers related tips, advice and resources to include information on Alzheimers
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