Interesting facts about Alzheimer’s disease
Of the roughly 55 million people around the world living with dementia, 60 to 70 percent are estimated to have Alzheimer's disease, reports the Mayo Clinic.
Alzheimer 's disease is a progressive brain disorder marked first by mild memory loss that can worsen and lead to problems with communication and an inability to perform the activities of daily life. The condition is named for Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Alzheimer noticed changes in the postmortem brain tissue of a woman who had died of unusual mental illness, which included symptoms of language problems, memory loss and unpredictable behavior. Her brain showed many abnormal clumps and tangled bundles of fibers. According to the National Institute on Aging, doctors now know those clumps are amyloid plaques and the tangles are hallmarks of the disease.
The National Institutes of Health says Alzheimer's disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and is the most common dementia among older adults. While most people are familiar with Alzheimer's, there is much more anyone can learn. The following are some interesting facts about Alzheimer's.
e most common symptoms of Alzheimer's involve a gradual decline in memory, reasoning, language, coordination, mood, and behavior.
e Cleveland Clinic says the buildup of plaques and tangles from an overabundance of amyloid and tau protein production block the communication between nerve cells and cause brain cells to die, thus contributing to Alzheimer's. Nerve cell death starts in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls memory. Doctors are not entirely sure what causes this protein buildup.
Many times fam ily members are the first to recognize a friend or loved one forgetting newly learned information, especially recent events, places and names.
Issues with think ing and reasoning may include not wearing the right clothes for the weather or not knowing to use oven mitts when taking hot items out of the oven.
Changes in the brain can begin years before initial symptoms appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's. Researchers believe that genetics may play a role, but a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's does not make it an inevitability.
A healthy lifestyle, which includes adequate physical activity, a nutritious diet, limited alcohol consumption, and not smoking, may help people avoid Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's can rob a person of his or her personality. As the disease becomes more severe, mood swings, anger, depression, and anxiety may occur.
This is combined with the patient forgetting who family members are and potentially lashing out or being disinterested in visitors.
ere is no cure for Alzheimer's, but doctors use medical management to improve quality of life for patients and their caregivers. Treatments may help maintain brain health and manage behavioral symptoms.
Alzheimer's disease was first diagnosed at the start of the 20th century.
Now, 117 years later, it remains a major health issue affecting millions of people worldwide.