Alzheimer’s disease is a neurologic disease of the brain. It is progressive and can lead to loss of neurons and intellectual abilities. Patients with disease often have problems in remembering things and in reasoning. This is because of loss of neurons that aid intellectual abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia and gets worse over time. It affects an individual’s overall behavior, thinking and leads to partial or complete memory loss. A patient may also have problems in making decisions, judgment, personality and problems in language. These are common symptoms and calls for diagnosis to determine the severity of the condition and possible medication to improve the situation.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are many causes of Alzheimer’s disease. They include age and family history. These are risk factors of the disease among other causes.
- As you grow old, there are high chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is not part of normal aging process but research shows that patients aged 60 and above are at high risk of developing the disease.
- Family history also puts you at a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you have a close family member who has suffered the disease including your parent, brother or sister, there are high chances that you might develop the disease.
- Gene combinations from proteins that appear to be abnormal also increase chances of developing AD.
- Long standing high pressure is also known to cause AD.
- History of head trauma and female gender also increase chances of developing AD.
Basically there are two types of Alzheimer’s diseases including early onset and late onset.
Early onset AD
Early onset AD often occurs before the age of 60. It is less common and tends to progress rapidly in patients. This type of AD runs in families and several genes have been identified in different studies.
Late onset AD
Late onset AD is common in persons aged 60 and above. It also runs in families but studies shows that the role of genes is not crucial and is not clear.
Therefore, the main causes of AD disease involve both environmental and genetic factors. Diagnosis is very important whenever symptoms of the disease are detected. This is to rule out the possibility of dementia. A sample of brain cells will examined after a patients death to determine AD. If a person dies of the disease, brain tissues will display certain changes including
- Neurofibrillary tangles where twisted fragments of protein within nerve cells tangle or clog up the cell
- Neuritic plaques where abnormal clusters of dead and dying nerve cells are detected
- Senile plaques where dying nerve cell products accumulate around protein.
- When neurons are destroyed, the numbers of chemicals that help nerve cells that send messages to other cells tend to decrease. This is why certain areas of the brain may appear disconnected leading to memory loss, problems with language and other cognitive abilities.
- Aluminum, mercury and lead buildup as well as other substances in the brain are also known to cause Alzheimer’s disease in many patients.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may vary in severity from one patient to the other. They are basically related to mental function and they include
- Memory loss
- Language problems
- Change of emotional behavior as well as personality
- Lack of cognitive abilities and skills including abstract thinking, judgment and calculation
AD disease will first present itself with forgetfulness. Mild cognitive impairment is common and is the stage between forgetfulness as a result of normal aging and development of AD. Patients with MCI will therefore have problems with thinking and memory. This can affect their daily lives and they cannot be able to do their everyday activities as they used to. A patient with MCI is fully aware of the forgetfulness and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop AD. This is why proper diagnosis of the disease is very important before your embark on treatment to improve the situation.
Symptoms of MCI include
- Difficulty in performing more than one task at ago
- Difficulty in solving problems
- Forgetting recent events and recent conversations
- Taking longer when performing certain activities
Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Problems with your language including inability to find names to familiar objects
- Getting lost in a familiar route
- Misplacing items
- Difficulty in performing tasks that you used to do normally say, playing games and learning new things
- Lose of interest in certain things especially things that you used to enjoy say, going for a movie, playing games and joining your friends for a walk. This often occurs due to a flat mood
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and so are the symptoms. When the disease becomes worse, it affects with your normal functioning and symptoms will become severe including
- Forgetting details of a recent event, your own life history and losing awareness of who you are
- Change in sleep patterns and a patient will often wake up at night
- Difficulty in writing and in reading
- Mispronunciation of words, speaking sentences that are poorly constructed and using wrong words
- Loss of ability to recognize danger and poor judgment
- Withdrawing social contact, delusions, agitation, depression
Failure to recognize family members, understand language problems when eating, bathing and dressing. These are symptoms of a patient with sever AD. Other symptoms include swallowing problems and incontinence.
Alzheimer’s Disease Home Remedies
There is no proven treatment to Alzheimer’s disease, although there are some home remedies that might help. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.
- Family Support– One remedy is to provide a stable home environment along with support from family members, and also to manage any behavioral problems, sleep problems and agitation that might occur as a result of AD.
- Vitamin B9, B12 and Vitamin E supplements slow down the disease. They can also help to prevent AD.
- Ginkgo biloba is also an excellent herb that helps to prevent and slow down AD.
- Carrots– carrots are excellent when it comes to boosting your memory. Carrots are excellent antioxidants and help to fight free redicals in the brain. Include carrots in your diet everyday. You can also eat them raw to boost your memory. You can also prepare carrot juice and take up to 3 glasses a day.
- Oranges-it is important to eat an orange a day. It improves your memory and is very effective in treatment of Alzheimerâ€™s Disease.
- Exercise-exercises are very crucial in enhancing your overall health. It is important to keep fit each single day. Choose a sport that you love most to keep the mind and body active. Yoga exercises also help in the treatment of the disease.
- Pumpkins-they are healthy and play a crucial role in preventing the onset of the disease. Eat pumpkins regularly to treat and prevent Alzheimer's.
- Soy products– soy milk and other soy products are very effective in treatment of the disease. Include the products in your daily meal for quick and effective treatment.
- Healthy lifestyle-a healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy and keeping fit helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. Engage in mental activities to boost your memory. Maintain proper weight because being obese can trigger the disease or aggregate it.
- Whole grains, cereals, beans, oatmeal and seeds– these are great sources of vitamins and proteins that the body requires for normal functioning. Include them in your daily diet for effective treatment of the disease.
- Use olive oil– cook with olive oil. It has fewer fats and helps to keep you fit.
- Fiber-increase your fiber intake including brown bread, brown rice and porridge as opposed to processed food. Additionally, get proper sleep and keep your mind active at all times to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
Diet for Alzheimer’s Disease
A healthy diet is known to prevent and help to slow down the symptoms of AD. Research shows that vitamin B plays a crucial role in enhancing mental abilities. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate lots of Vitamin B in your diet. Include whole grains, brown rice, nuts and yogurt. These are great sources of vitamin B.
Magnesium is also great for your diet. It helps to enhance brain function. It excites neurons in the brain and also helps to prevent other diseases including heart disease and cancer. Whole grains, soy flour, wheat bran and nuts are great sources of magnesium.
Vitamins are great in your diet. Ensure your diet is rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12 and Vitamin c. They enhance brain functions and slow down AD symptoms. Fresh fruits and vegetables, soy flour, brewers yeast and whole grains are great sources of these vitamins.
Other foods to include in your diet include homemade yogurt, cooked oatmeal, sugar and fat free food, low fat tomato sauce and pasta, salmon, fish, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, squash, lightly cooked carrots, black or red grapes, pink grapefruits, walnuts and dried unsweetened fruits. These foods are great sources of vitamins and magnesium. They help to enhance brain functions and to reduce symptoms of AD. They also play a crucial role in preventing the disease.
Food to avoid in your diet
- Meat with fats
- Red meat
- Hot dogs and hamburgers
- A lot of salt in your meal
- Food with butter and other animal fats in large amounts
- Whole milk and products
- Alcohol, soft drinks and chocolate
- Sugars, more than one cup of coffee and caffeinated drinks
Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no proven and effective way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, research shows that there are many practices that you should incorporate in your daily lifestyle. They help to prevent the disease especially if you have a family history of dementia. You can always talk to a medic on the best medication, supplements and exercises that help to prevent the disease.
- It is essential to consider low fat diet
- Cold water fish including mackerel, tuna and salmon are great sources of omega 3 fats and help to prevent AD. Consider the fish at least 2 to 3 times a week.
- Reduce your intake of butter, dairy products and linoleic acid found in margarine
- Increase your intake of vitamin E, Vitamin C and carotenoids. These can be found in vegetables and dark colored fruits.
- Maintain normal blood pressure
- Maintain an active social and mental life
- Consider non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen, statin drugs because it helps to lower risk of AD. Your doctor, will advice on the best medication to reduce the risk of AD. If you are at high risk of the disease, early testing is essential because it will help you lead adopt a lifestyle that lowers risk of developing AD.
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