What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. It is the most common type of dementia (an umbrella term relating to problems with memory, thinking and behaviour).

It is not a normal process of aging. In fact, early onset Alzheimer’s occurs from ages 30 to 60. Symptoms of late onset Alzheimer’s begin at age 60.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. It usually begins with difficulty in remembering recent events and learning new material. As the disease progresses, language problems, disorientation and agitation can occur. 

Some symptoms may include:

  • Difficulties in thinking and making judgments
  • Challenges in planning and performing familiar tasks
  • Social withdrawal
  • Distrust in others
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

There is no single test for Alzheimer’s disease, so doctors will look for some of these symptoms to determine whether the person has Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive assessments and brain imaging tests can also be used as tools to indicate the likelihood of having Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Causes

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood, but researchers focus on two main proteins: plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

Plaques

Plaques are leftover beta-amyloid proteins. They build up in the brain areas responsible for thinking processes.

Neurofibrillary tangles

Neurofibrillary tangles are made up of tau proteins that distribute nutrients to neurons. Mutated tau proteins cause neurofibrillary tangles to accumulate in the brain area associated with memory.

 

Risk Factors

Age

Becoming older increases the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

Genetics

Having parents or siblings who have Alzheimer’s disease increases the chances of developing it too. People with APOEe4 gene increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Environmental factors

Smoking, low social support, obesity and high blood pressure increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medications can be given to reduce the symptoms, and maintain mental functions.

Prevention

Having healthier lifestyle habits can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The following modifiers may help:

  • Exercising
  • Quitting smoking
  • Active socialisation
  • Eating healthy food with low salt and saturated fats

For support:

Reach out to our specialised therapists at The Therapy Platform

Call us at 66770725 or chat with our friendly Therapy Support Specialist 

Mon- Fri: 9am to 6pm

Janna is our in-house blog writer and therapy specialist. She is supporting The Therapy Platform users towards successful therapy experience. 

Janna

Therapy Specialist

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