Alzheimer’s Disease Causes, Symptoms, and Types

Introduce Alzheimer’s disease

There are different types of alzheimer’s disease, each with its own set of causes and risk factors. In general, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die.

This results in the loss of abilities such as memory, reasoning, judgment, language skills and motor skills. Over time, it will progress until you have trouble walking, talking and remembering anything at all. The following are the five main types of Alzheimer’s disease and their signs and symptoms as well as treatments that may help your symptoms or slow down the disease process


What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Scientists are still researching what causes Alzheimer’s disease. However, at least six things can cause or increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease: age (the average age of diagnosis is 65), high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, depression, heart disease and smoking.

You may also be at higher risk if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. One thing we do know for sure is that Alzheimer’s disease starts in an area of your brain called gray matter — and it eventually spreads to other areas as well as to other regions in your brain as you get older.


What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s symptoms can vary widely in their severity. Early on, they can be mild enough that you don’t notice them. But as Alzheimer’s progresses, symptoms worsen — some cognitive abilities are lost while others are preserved.

Common signs of Alzheimer’s include memory loss that disrupts your daily life; forgetting things like where you put keys or losing track of money; confusion about time or place; language problems that make it hard to communicate; poor judgment and a change in personality; mood swings or other behavior changes; trouble doing simple tasks such as bathing or cooking. You may also see a withdrawal from friends and family or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.


Alzheimer’s Types

There are two main types of Alzheimer’s disease: early-onset (also called familial) Alzheimer’s disease (FAD), which usually starts before age 60, and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), which typically begins after age 60. Some people have a combination of both FAD and LOAD.

The cause of most cases of Alzheimer’s is unknown; however, genetics seems to play a role in some early-onset cases. In many other cases, there is no clear cause. Most researchers agree that by 2050, more than 13 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s.


How Is Alzheimer Diagnosed?

Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed based on three main criteria: cognitive symptoms (changes in memory, thinking and behavior), mental status changes that impact day-to-day function (such as loss of judgment or reasoning skills) and brain changes seen through imaging techniques. For example, a CT scan or MRI can show shrunken regions of brain tissue (or atrophy) associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis here. How Is Alzheimer’s Treated?: Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, though ongoing research continues to uncover new ways to treat it. There are several medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating Alzheimer’s including memantine, donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®) and galantamine (Razadyne®). Early stage Alzheimer’s patients may also benefit from behavioral therapy to improve their quality of life and slow progression over time. Learn more about treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease here .


What Treatments Are Available for Alzheimer?

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease does not have a cure. However, there are some medications available that can help to slow down or delay some of its symptoms.

There are four types of drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating Alzheimer’s: Cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), rivastigmine (Exelon), and memantine (Namenda). These medications treat symptoms in certain parts of your brain that allow you to think more clearly.


How Can I Lower My Risk for Developing Alzheimer?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known. However, researchers have found that certain factors may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These include: Family history: If you have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease, you are more likely to develop it yourself. Gender: Women who experience natural menopause before age 55 appear to be at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who do not go through menopause until after age 65.

Non-genetic inheritance: If a family member with Alzheimer’s develops symptoms younger than age 60 – such as in their 50s or even 40s – it may suggest an early-onset form of familial (or genetic) Alzheimer’s. Take brain disorder supplements for developing Alzheimer’s disease.


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