Alzheimer’s disease is a very common illness that causes problems with memory, thinking and a person’s behaviour. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia and symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer’s has been identified as one of the most common causes of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 per cent to 80 per cent of dementia cases. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and will worsen over time, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information.
As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain, it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including:
* Mood and behaviour changes
*Deepening confusion about events, time and place
* Unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers
* Serious memory loss and behaviour changes
* Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
*Repeat statements and questions over and over
*Routinely misplace possessions, often putting them in illogical locations
*Get lost in familiar places
*Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects
*Have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations
Alzheimer’s disease medications may temporarily improve symptoms or slow the rate of decline. These treatments can sometimes help people with Alzheimer’s disease maximize function and maintain independence for a time. People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. Anyone experiencing dementia-like symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.
The month of September is observed as World Alzheimer’s month. If you are concerned about thinking skills you observe in a family member or friend, talk about your concerns and offer your assistance in getting your loved one to see a doctor. If you are concerned about your memory or other thinking skills, visit your doctor for a thorough assessment and diagnosis.
Your Health…Is your responsibility!