According to experts. the biggest worry for people reaching the age of 55 and over is Alzheimer’s Disease, causing more distress and fear than any other condition known to us. Noticing the first signs of the disease can be a devastating discovery, for both you and your closest family but don’t immediately fall in despair.
The fact that you’ve forgotten where you put your keys or you didn’t buy milk from the supermarket isn’t a tell-tale sign of Alzheimer’s. Even if this is the case, the sooner you’re diagnosed and seek help the better your chances of having a good-quality life and minimize the symptoms.
Statistics show that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a serious brain disorder that impacts daily living through memory loss and cognitive changes. Although not all memory loss indicates Alzheimer’s disease, one in ten people over the age of 65, and over half of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. Current numbers say that as much as 26 million people around the globe suffer from this form of dementia and projections estimate that more than 15 million in the US alone will be diagnosed by 2050.
Once the Alzheimer’s sets in, its symptoms develop very slowly and gradually get worse as time passes by. What starts as a common forgetfulness later grows into widespread brain impairment. The brain gets slowly degraded by the chemical and structural changes and patients soon lose the ability to create, remember, learn, reason, and relate to others.
Most Common Risk Factors
The highest risk factors that influence the onset of this disease are age, family history and genetics. Still, there are other risk factors which also contribute, meaning that even if you’re in the high risk group there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself. Preserving your cardiovascular health, avoiding high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high cholesterol can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s. Keep your weight under control, stay away from tobacco and excess alcohol, be sociable and keep your body and mind sharp.
Most Common Symptoms
The first symptoms of the disease are generally mild but as the disease progresses they start to interfere with your everyday life. There are some common symptoms but you need to know that in every person the disease can manifest differently.
According to medical professionals the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s are memory lapses. Patients diagnosed early usually have difficulty recalling recent events and learning new information. This happens 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.
You may not remember what you had for breakfast but the memory for things that happened a long time ago will remain intact in the early stages. As the disease progresses, the memory loss will become more pronounced and will start to make even the simplest chores much more difficult. People experience difficulties finding stuff around the house, struggle to find a word to finish a sentence, may forget someone’s name, get lost somewhere where they’ve been a million times before, have trouble remembering a recent event and so on.
Don’t Ignore These Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Feeling fatigued and lacking energy
- Memory loss
- Sudden mood swings
- Feeling angry and frustrated all the time
- Slow reactions to new situations
- Difficulties learning new things very hard
- Inability to understand some things
- Wanting to be alone
- Difficulties communicating with others.
- Problems performing the simplest everyday chores
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