Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It diminishes cognitive, verbal, and physical abilities by destroying brain cells. The current available treatments are only able to delay the progression of the disease, as there are no cures. Many scientific experts are working to ameliorate our understanding of this disease, thus searching to find more effective treatments, and ultimately cures. Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses slowly and there are three general stages that are recognized. The three stages of the disease are mild (early stage), moderate (middle stage), and severe (late stage). There are different symptoms and severity of symptoms associated with the three stages.
STAGES OF THE ALZHEIMER DISEASE
- Difficulty with short term memory.
- Forgetting names of people or objects.
- Reduced ability to communicate clearly, and often searching for the right words.
- Difficulty with written language, or forgetting material one has just read
- Difficulty in orientation and perception.
- Change in mood (apathy, anxiety, depression, isolation, loss of interest).
- More significant memory problems (specifically with short-term memory).
- Further decrease in ability to communicate effectively (difficulty with finding words, reading, and writing).
- Changes in personality.
- Changes in behavior (agitation, aggressive behavior, etc.).
- Increased risk of wandering or becoming lost.
- Decrease of autonomy and independence.
- Difficulty in recognizing loved ones.
- Significant difficulty in all aspect of communication and expressing thoughts.
- Significant personality changes become apparent.
There are no known causes of Alzheimer’s disease; however, vast research has shown that there are several risk factors that are associated with the disease itself, and also with the progression of the symptoms. Some of these risk factors include:
- Family history
- Gender (women are at greater risk)
- Age (risk increases over age 65)
- Traumatic brain injuries (concussions)
- Poor lifestyle habits (poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, etc.)
- Unstable health issues (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, etc.)
- Lack of stimulating social interactions