Alzheimer’s is the most common form of degenerative dementia, which can appear principally in the elderly age (over 65 years, but may also occur in the previous age).
The most frequent symptom of Alzheimer’s is the difficulty about remembering recent events. Although the progression rate may vary, the average life expectancy after diagnosis is from three to nine years.
What can be the main causes of this degenerative dementia?
The cause and progression of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet well understood. Research indicates that the disease is closely associated with amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary clusters found in the brain, but the cause of such degeneration is not well- known.
Who discovered this type of illness?
The disease was first described in 1906 by the German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer.
In 2006, there were more than 25 million sick people worldwide and it is estimated that one in 85 worldwide will be affected by 2050.
With the advancement of the disease, the clinical picture may include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, language difficulties, short and long term memory loss, and progressive sensory dysfunctions.
Generally, Alzheimer’s is made up of three stages: early, middle and late.
Early – Stage
This phase is made up of difficulty in language, in actions, in perception, or in the execution of complex movements. In addition, old memories of personal life, lessons learned , and implicit memory (body memory on how to do things and gestures) are not affected.
Middle – Stage
During this intermediary stage, activities like reading and writing are slowly abandoned. Complex motor sequences become less coordinated and the risk of falls increases. In this phase, memory problems get worse, and the person may not recognize his relatives. Long-term memory, which was previously intact, becomes compromised.
Furthermore, behavioral and neuropsychiatric changes become more frequent.
Late – Stage
In the third (and the last) phase of Alzheimer’s language is reduced to simple sentences or words, even singles, ultimately leading to the complete loss of the word. Apathy and fatigue are the most common symptoms. People with Alzheimer’s disease will eventually not be able to perform even simpler tasks independently: in fact, muscle mass and mobility deteriorate. The cause of death is usually an external factor (such as an infection).
How to reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s?
Thanks to some precaution, you can reduce the risks about the development of this disease.
1. Think positive and avoid depression, which can influence the brain from a cognitive perspective;
2. Measure the pressure to keep under control your health: high blood pressure or an ever-accelerated heart rate increases the risk of contracting this illness;
3. Avoid the obesity. Maintaining a proper weight is essential to enjoy good health, in terms of body and brain function. The more you gain weight, the more your body produces insulin, a protein that can improve the chances of contracting Alzheimer’s disease;
4. Have nice sleeps. Sleep disorders, such as apnea, have been linked to cognitive deficits;
5. Don’t live in the past: you always have to open your mind to the daily news.