The Ins and Outs of Alzheimer’s Disease


Slow losing one’s memory and ability to function is just about as bad a fate as one could imagine. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease promises such a fate. Here are the ins and outs of this medical problem.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the mental abilities of a person. It impacts the cognitive abilities of a person leading to problems with their ability to problem solve, remember things and eventually control their body. As time passes, mood and behavioral problems will also often arise.

Currently, between two and five million people suffer from the disease. Why such a wide range? Initial diagnoses of dementia in the elderly are often incorrect because the initial symptoms can be difficult to differentiate from simple aging effects.

Alzheimer’s usually does not reveal itself until after the age of 65. The vast majority of seniors never suffer from it. There are, however, two factors that tend to be precursors to the determination of whether a person will have Alzheimer’s in later life. They are a family history of dementia or a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

There is a genetic element to Alzheimer’s that is not entirely understood at this time. It is clear, however, that family groups with a history of dementia in later life tend to be more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The same goes for a person who has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome although, again, nobody is entirely sure why.

Early designations of Alzheimer’s disease are difficult. Why? The problem is found in the very nature of aging. As we grow older, our cognitive abilities naturally decrease to some extent. The question then becomes whether cognitive issues a person is experiencing are part of this natural process, Alzheimer’s disease or some other medical issue such as vascular issues and such. Currently, the primary detection method for early diagnosis is a physical examination combined with a rigorous interview, discussion with family members or friends regarding the patient’s conduct and a detailed review of the family history of the patient.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a catch-22 disease. It tends to develop slowly, which is a positive since the person diagnosed with it should still have a significant number of quality years of life. There is a downside, however. As the disease progresses, the patient requires more and more care. Even the best meaning family members will be unable to handle watching a loved one mentally fade away over many years. If you are in this situation, you must join support groups or risk suffering the mental and physical consequences of depression, stress, anxiety and guilt.


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