Alzheimer’s disease – Symptoms, causes, and coping mechanisms Health

Alzheimer’s disease – Symptoms, causes, and coping mechanisms

The brain controls several processes in the body, including our thoughts, memory, emotion, touch, and motor skills. However, sometimes this complex organ can develop a disorder known as Alzheimer’s disease. It is a progressive neurological disorder that gradually disrupts essential processes in the body and ultimately affects one’s ability to function normally. Studies estimate that more than 6 million people in the country are affected by the condition, with most aged 65 or older.

Signs and symptoms
Most individuals with the condition will occasionally lose track of some tasks at hand. However, people who develop Alzheimer’s disease may exhibit behaviors and signs that can worsen with time. One should remember that showing these signs does not mean the person has a mental health condition. A few common symptoms of this neurological disorder include unexplained trouble with solving problems and memory loss that may disrupt one’s daily activities. An example of this would be setting appointments and immediately forgetting about them. People with this condition may also feel difficulties with familiar tasks like using a microwave, reduced ability to make concrete decisions, disorientation about time or place, lack of ability to maintain personal hygiene, changes in mood and personality, and withdrawal from friends, family, and community.

Experts are yet to determine what causes Alzheimer’s disease. However, research has pointed to certain factors that may affect an individual with the disorder.

Individuals are more likely to develop mental health disorders as they grow older. Studies indicate that in most people with Alzheimer’s, the symptoms appear from the mid-60s onwards.

A person is more likely to develop the condition if their parents or siblings also have it. Research reveals that a genetic variant of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, commonly associated with Alzheimer’s, on chromosome 19 increases a person’s risk of developing this disease.

Down syndrome
Most individuals with Down syndrome are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Studies indicate it might be related to having three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two. It may also be related to subsequently having three copies of the gene responsible for the protein that leads to the development of beta-amyloid.

Women are at a larger risk of developing this disease than men, but the chance of this happening is low.

Mild cognitive impairment
Also known as MCI, the condition leads to memory issues and other thinking skills that are generally unusual for an individual at their age. Someone with this condition might be at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Head trauma
Someone with severe head trauma is also at a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Other causes
Other factors like air pollution and poor sleeping habits may also put one at risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Other factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poorly controlled type 2 diabetes may also contribute to the development of the health condition.

Treatment options
There is no definite cure for Alzheimer’s disease. So, an individual diagnosed with this condition must start a treatment plan. Some prescriptions may help slow the progression of symptoms, while others help improve cell-to-cell communications by maintaining a chemical messenger that is otherwise destroyed in the brain by the mental health disorder. The FDA has also approved some prescriptions that locate and remove amyloid plaques in the brain to curb symptoms.

Lifestyle changes

A person with Alzheimer’s should make certain lifestyle changes that will help them better manage their condition. It includes working out regularly, eating healthy meals, and attending support group sessions.

Indulging in regular exercises, such as walking, can improve one’s mood, maintain healthy joints and muscles, and aid the heart. One could also take up other activities like yoga, swimming, and cycling to maintain overall well-being.

Eating healthy meals
Someone with Alzheimer’s may forget to eat, lose interest in cooking meals or eat unhealthy foods. They may also forget to drink sufficient water, leading to dehydration and constipation. Therefore, someone with the disorder needs to set reminders to follow a healthy nutritional plan and drink several glasses of water regularly.

Joining support group
Another positive lifestyle modification one can make by joining a support group. They can do so by looking for one in their locality or online groups. By joining a support group, one can learn how others with similar health complications have learned to manage symptoms and carry out daily tasks.