What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of brain disorder that grows worse over time and affects the functioning of the brain. It can affect your loved one’s memory as well as the ability to think and comprehend. As the condition worsens, it can severely affect your loved one’s ability to perform even the simplest of daily tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is not reversible, and once it sets in, it will only get worse.
Alzheimer’s disease can affect different people in different ways, but the fact is that it progresses through certain stages that are more or less common for everyone, from start to end. While most people assume that Alzheimer’s only affects those who are older, the signs can set in even during one’s 30s.
According to most medical experts, Alzheimer’s Disease progresses through 7 stages, starting from the normal phase and ending in a severe stage of cognitive decline. Not all the stages are exactly same for everyone, but the symptoms and conditions will be more or less similar.
Stage 1: Normal Outward Behaviour
Your loved one will not yet exhibit any obvious signs of Alzheimer’s. At this point, Alzheimer’s can only be diagnosed through a PET scan, which is a type of imaging test that will help the doctor to see whether or not there are any visible traces of Alzheimer’s in the person.
Stage 2: Minor Changes in Behaviour
You will still not be able to notice any significant change in your loved one’s behaviour nor any Alzheimer Disease Symptoms, but there are certain things that will show up nonetheless. For instance, your loved one may suddenly seem to forget a word here or there while speaking to you or you may notice that he or she has difficulty tracing and locating personal items/objects.
Stage 3: Mild Decline
You will probably be able to pick up some of the first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in your loved one. For instance, he or she may start asking you the same question repeatedly, even though you have already answered it or he/she may forget what you just said and feel that you never answered them. At this stage, it will become difficult for your loved one to be organized or make any sensible plans independently.
Stage 4: First Stage Of Moderate Decline
The condition will start to worsen and your loved one will find it difficult to concentrate and focus on a lot of things, including regular daily things. He or she will now find it more and more difficult to remember things and may even forget what day or month it is.
Stage 5: Moderate - Severe Decline
Your loved one’s condition will worsen and he or she may even find it difficult to remember where they are. Also, your loved one will now find it difficult to remember an address, telephone number, a contact person’s details and basic things that can be related to their safety. He or she may also not be able to understand what season it is and what type of clothes to wear. At this stage of Alzheimer’s, the memory loss and degenerative condition will start getting dangerous and a professional caregiver should be called in their own good.
Stage 6: Severe Decline
In this stage of Alzheimer’s Disease,the condition will start to get so bad that you may find it difficult to connect with your loved one. Your loved one may not be able to associate your face with the right name or relation. This is also the stage Of Alzheimer’s where he or she may start getting delusional and confuse someone for someone else.
Stage 7: Extreme Decline
Your loved one will find it difficult to carry out basic day to day activities that he or she was otherwise at ease with. For instance, your loved one will now not be able to do simple everyday things such as eating, sitting, walking, picking up a spoon and such. In some cases, while they may be able to actually do the task, they may not remember how to do it anymore and you will have to show them how to do it over and over again.
How to Identify
In the Initial Stages, it can be difficult for you to determine whether your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease as the various symptoms of Alzheimer’s may often lead to a misleading diagnosis.This is why it is sometimes difficult to diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease in the nascent or early stages. If you suspect your loved one of having one or more of the Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms mentioned below, observe them over a period of time to get a better understanding of the same, so that you can inform the doctor correctly and in time.
Alzheimer’s Disease causes the death of brain cells. It is a form of neurodegenerative disorder wherein the death of brain cells happens over a period of time. When a person suffers from Alzheimer’s, the size of the brain slowly starts to shrink, and with time, the tissues have only a few nerve cells and connections left.
Family history and Genetics
If you have someone in the family who suffers from Alzheimer’s, especially a parent or a sibling, your risk at being diagnosed with the same is higher.
Women are known to be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s as compared to men.
Repeated Head Injury
If you or your loved one has suffered multiple injuries to the head in the past, it significantly increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
While it can affect those who are younger, even in their 30s or 40s, those who are 65 or older are at a relatively higher risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Lifestyle and Heart Issues
Unhealthy lifestyle conditions such as lack of exercise, smoking, drinking and not eating enough fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of conditions that could lead to Alzheimer’s. Also, those who have any health issues such as high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, obesity and diabetes are also at a higher risk.
Prolonged use of Antidepressants
Certain types of Anti-Anxiety medications, when taken over a long period of time, can also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Certain types of medications that help treat insomnia, when taken over a long period of time, can also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Long Term Sleep Deprivation
Lack of sleep on a regular basis can have a negative impact on one’s memory and cognitive abilities, triggering Alzheimer’s.
Therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease
As of now, there is no Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment. If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, the doctors will try to treat each Alzheimer’s symptom separately so that the condition can be managed as best as possible.
Exercising will not help to treat your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s, but it will definitely help improve their quality of life and manage daily activities better. Also, regular exercise will help manage some of the Alzheimer Disease Symptoms better, thus making it easier for your loved one.
Some of the Benefits of Exercise Therapy that can help your Loved Ones are:
Such activities which require the use of our mental faculties greatly help in reigning in Alzheimer Disease Symptoms
Add some form of regular exercise to your daily routine, such as walking, jogging, swimming, playing some form of sport, or whatever you feel you will be able to do on a regular basis.
If you suffer from chronic depression, you have twice the risk of getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Seek immediate medical help and keep yourself engaged in activities that make you feel happy.
Keep Your Weight In Check
Eat healthy and fresh foods as much as possible, and avoid packaged and processed foods as much as you can.
Regularly Check Your Blood Pressure
Regularly get your blood pressure monitored and talk to your doctor about how you can keep it under control. Reduce your salt intake.
Check For Diabetes
Take all necessary precautions to keep your diabetes under control. Get yourself tested frequently, speak to your doctor about preventive measures, exercise regularly and keep your weight in check.
Quit Or Cut Down On Smoking
Cut down or give up smoking. Your doctor can help you quit with the help of nicotine patches, medication or even nicotine drops. If you are not a smoker but are frequently exposed to passive smoking, avoid it as well.
Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
If you regularly eat more fruits and vegetables, it can significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and have a variety of brightly coloured foods.
Include More Berries
Berries have a very high amount of active components that are great to keep your memory sharp and fight memory loss. Try and have some or the other type of berry each day, such as blueberry, blackberry or strawberry.
Increase Your Consumption Of Folic Acid
Folic acid is known to boost memory power and also fight dementia. Speak to your doctor about a supplement that you can safely take and also understand the dosage as per your specific requirement.
Have More Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids will play a crucial role in boosting your memory and keeping it healthy. Include fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel that are known to boost your omega 3 fatty acid levels and also fight Alzheimer’s Disease.
Coconut oil, a common ingredient in most Indian homes, contains a host of ketogenic properties and is excellent for alzheimer’s disease treatment. These properties can help your brain receive the right amount of fuel it needs to function properly. Ketosis is a type or metabolic reaction that takes place when you do not have enough glucose in the body that can create energy. As coconut oil has ketogenic properties, your brain gets the required amount of energy and can carry out the tasks it is meant to do. As a result, it can help to keep Alzheimer’s Disease at bay.
As per medical research, people who are affected with Alzheimer’s face an imbalance in the hypometabolism (low rate of metabolism) of the brain. A diet that is rich in ketogenic properties can help prevent the decrease in metabolism.
How Care24 can Help
At Care24, we offer a host of care services that includes a team of doctors, nurses, attendants and physiotherapists.