With almost 5.4 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, this condition has the distinction of being the only one in the top ten diseases that cannot be prevented, slowed or even cured.
Since the year 2000, the number of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has risen by almost 66 % in comparison to the drop in numbers for other diseases that have been leading causes of deaths in the United States.
Learning more about the disease will not only go a long way in helping us be more sensitive to those who suffer but also learn why it needs far more attention than it is getting in this day and age.
Alzheimer’s disease: An Overview
Simply put, Alzheimer’s, as it is commonly known, is the most prevalent form of dementia, and is a condition which results in the irreversible loss of neurons in the brain, most probably due to the buildup of a particular protein known as the beta-amyloid protein.
Memory loss and the ability to reason tend to deteriorate with this condition leading to the inability to perform the most basic occupational and social functions as any other normal person would find easy. It is a progressive disease which means that it gets worse with time, and usually afflicts senior citizens specifically over the age of 70.
According to studies, almost 50 % of those above the age of 80 are said to struggle with this disease while almost 2-5 % of people in their forties or fifties begin to experience the symptoms related to this disease.
Some of the other reasons, apart from aging, that causes Alzheimer’s are hypertension, diabetes, elevated blood cholesterol and coronary heart disease.
Warning Signs Associated with Alzheimer’s disease
Even though Alzheimer’s disease affects the patient gradually, there are certain warning signs that loved ones should be aware of, in order to identify whether one has Alzheimer’s or not.
Yet it’s important to know that only if a person exhibits several of these conditions, will it point to this incurable and terminal disease.
So here is a list of behavioral changes that might indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s:
#1: Memory loss
#2: Difficulty in carrying out normal tasks
#3: Inability to speak their language fluently
#4: Disoriented with time and place
#5: Change in mood, behavior and personality
#6: Difficulty with abstract thinking or making judgments
While some of these symptoms are clearly observable, it is not possible to come to an accurate conclusion without the aid of a physician who will carry out a complete evaluation of the patient’s abilities.
Yet what makes this mental condition so painful is, in most cases, loved ones have to watch the patient’s slow decline.