Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease? - LIVE HEALTHY

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June 14, 2020

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?


Alzheimer's disease was first observed and named after Alois Alzheimer's, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, in 1906. It is an indescribable neurodegenerative disorder occurring in individuals over 65 years of age.

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia commonly occurring in older people. Dementia is a type of brain disorder that severely affects the affected person's ability to carry out daily activities. Alzheimer's begins slowly. Initially, it affects the parts of the brain that govern memory and language. People suffering from this do not remember things that have happened recently or the names of people they know about.

Alzheimer's, which is a progressive disease, destroys one's memory and other critical mental functions. It is believed that people who have the Apolipoprotein E4 (Apo E4) gene are more likely to develop the disease. There are millions of people all over the world who are suffering from this disease today.

Alzheimer's disease is a major challenge related to modern-day medicine. If you pay attention to the number of people suffering from it, then it is surprising. Around 30 million people worldwide suffer from this disease. And if we are unable to prevent it, then this number will increase to 100 million by the year 2050.

What is the leading cause of Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. The reason for the development of Alzheimer's disease is the abnormal accumulation of protein plaques and tangles in the brain. And these two vital proteins are made up of amyloid and tau.

Amyloids and tau are present in healthy brains, but they function abnormally in Alzheimer's disease. The amyloid forms plaques outside the cells, and the tau forms tangents inside them. These plaques and tangent damage the nerve cells from which they die.

When many cells die, this causes the brain to shrink. The hippocampus is the first region of the brain that is affected by Alzheimer's disease. The hippocampus has an essential role in making memories.

Therefore, in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, one often has trouble making new memories, while old memories can last for a very long time. This is because abiding memories from childhood depend less on the hippocampus and more on other parts of the brain that are not damaged early in Alzheimer's.

The amygdala is more frequently affected by Alzheimer's disease later than the hippocampus. The amygdala plays an important role in the matter of emotion. It explains why a person with Alzheimer's can remember feelings or emotions about an event or person, even if they cannot remember the facts of the situation. As more and more nerve cells die, and more areas of the brain are affected.

Alzheimer's disease also has a low level of a particular neurotransmitter in the brain that allows messages to pass between nerve cells. A low level of this chemical can cause more problems with memory and think, less useful for the remaining cells to communicate with each other.

Early Signs & symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

  • Memory loss
  • Familiar tasks become challenging
  • Confusion with time and place
  • Problems speaking
  • Misplacing things
  • Compromised decision making
  • Social withdrawal
  • Apathy
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Impaired vision
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Changes in personal appearance


What are the stages of Alzheimer's?


Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease progression is classified into seven different stages. These are…


Preclinical Alzheimer's

According to Healthline, the first stage of Alzheimer's is not like dementia at all. In fact, at this point, you can only learn about your risk of developing Alzheimer's based on family history. If you are at risk, the doctor may know by memory. But there are probably no noticeable symptoms in this first phase.
  • No complaints of memory problems
  • No evidence of cognitive deficits


Very Mild Decline

After the first phase has passed, you or a family member starts to notice some of your antics and problems such as general memory loss or you forget where you keep the car keys. Even at this stage, doctors will have difficulty in coping with this problem because the symptoms are not fully visible yet. Even at this stage, the disease has not come to the point where the memory loss can be easily separated from average age-related memory loss.
  • Reports of memory problems like misplacing objects or forgetting names
  • No evidence of issues with work or social situations


Mild Cognitive Decline

In the third stage, mild light symptoms start appearing in some patients while in some patients not. In this stage, the patient may face difficulty in remembering the names of new people and finding the right words for things. The person may perform oddly at work or a social level or have problems with planning and organizing. If you notice something like this in your beloved people, then this is the right time to contact your doctor.
  • Impaired concentration
  • Difficulty with work tasks
  • Some denial and Anxiety about the deficits


Moderate Decline

In this stage, the symptoms of the disease start to become apparent, so it is not easy to hide it. Cognitive deterioration begins in this phase, and even there is a lot of difficulty in doing regular tasks. Healthline suggests, at this stage, patients forget details of his past, and a short-term decline in memory may be noted.
  • Trouble remembering personal history
  • Trouble travelling or handling finances
  • Reduced expression of emotions
  • Withdrawal from situations that are challenging


Moderately Severe Decline

At this stage of the disease, the patient begins to forget where he is and when he is there. Important information, such as his home address and phone number, also starts to fade from his brain. A person suffering from Alzheimer's disease can even begin to wear clothes that do not weather friendly. It is essential to be patient at this stage of the disease because the patient may ask the same question many times.
  • Some assistance needed
  • Evidence of short term memory loss
  • Lack of orientation to time, place or date
  • May need help with choosing what to wear


Severe Decline

In this stage, the patient has a lack of awareness of current events and an inability to remember the past. During this phase, patients face more difficulty in following the daily routine. However, stage 6 patients may still respond to nonverbal stimuli such as pleasure and pain but may suffer from hallucinations and become increasingly agitated.
  • Lack of awareness of recent activities
  • Activities of daily living may require assistance
  • Evidence of incontinence and bowel issues
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Personality and behaviour changes occur including hallucination and Anxiety


Very Severe Decline

This is the last stage of Alzheimer's disease, and unfortunately, the patient comes close to death. During this phase, the person may still use some words but loses the ability to react or communicate. In this phase, the patient needs help with almost all daily activities as the disease takes away the strength of the person to function physically. Also, the patient's brain cells start dying rapidly.
  • Significant personality and behaviour changes
  • Loss of speech and ability to hold a conversation
  • Complicated moving, eating, and swallowing
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Unable to do daily activities without assistance


What is the difference between Alzheimer's & Dementia?

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Habits that increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease


Social Isolation

There is a reason why everyone encourages you to go out more, meet people and socialize. Experts say that face-to-face contact releases neurotransmitters that help regulate stress and Anxiety. Being social is essential for your brain.

Avoiding social interaction and loneliness will lead to reduced cognitive performance. Your mental health will also start to decrease. If you socialize regularly, you will be less likely to get Alzheimer's disease. The doctor advises a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease to be more social so that its symptoms can be managed.

Smoking

Smoking increases the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. It shrinks your brain and causes memory loss and thinning of your cerebral cortex, leading to impaired thinking and cognitive decline. It also damages blood vessels, putting them at risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

All of these are directly related to your brain, causing Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, the smart decision here would be to quit smoking. If you are still unsuccessful in quitting smoking, contact the doctors soon and talk to them about alternatives like nicotine patches.

Inadequate sleep

Do you watch TV till late at night or stay busy on your mobiles and laptops? If this is the case, you are causing a lot of damage to your brain. Sleep is required to relax and rejuvenate your body, especially the mind. Ideally, adults are advised to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day to stay healthy. Teenagers are encouraged to sleep for 8 hours.

By not getting enough sleep, you can fall prey to diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. Lack of sleep keeps you feeling sleepy throughout the day and negatively affects your attention span and memory retention. It can cause problems like depression in the long run.

To strengthen your memory, you need deep sleep. When you are unable to get good sleep for a long time, the level of protein tau found in the brain increases. Tau is directly associated with cognitive decline, and elevated levels indicate Alzheimer's disease.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, make sure you do not drink caffeinated beverages before going to bed. Keep your electronic devices, such as laptops and smartphones away. Watching TV while lying in bed can also affect your sleep. If you still can't sleep, listen to soft music. A soothing bedtime routine will give you the sound sleep necessary for a healthy body and mind.

Sedentary lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle will increase your weight and lethargy, but it can also cause cognitive decline. Whether it is due to lack of time or you are sitting like a lazy all day without any physical activity. It can have a lasting effect on your body and mind.

A sedentary lifestyle leads to issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and are all directly linked to Alzheimer's. So, if you want to avoid all these risks, then be proactive.

Being physically active will have a positive effect on your blood vessels, including those in your brain. It will increase your brain's learning capacity, reduce stress, and increase oxygen supply. All this means a healthier, smarter mind!

Staying inside

Do you like to stay indoors? Does the simple idea of ​​outdoor activities bother you? We are so busy nowadays in the world of our smartphones and social media that it isolates us from the outside world, and which is not suitable for our health.

You must keep your phone down and boost your outdoor activities. And it's not just to socialize but get more sun! It must be bizarre to hear, but if you want a healthy body and brain, then it must be exposed to the sun.

Our bodies synthesize vitamin D when exposed to the sun. But do you know that our mood and cognitive ability are also affected by exposure to light? Exposure to sunlight changes levels of hormones such as melatonin and the neurotransmitter serotonin.

You need melatonin for a healthy sleep cycle, and serotonin directly affects your mood. Morning sunlight exposure can have a significant impact on people suffering from cognitive decline and memory loss.

Being addicted to junk food

Every time there is a health-related study, junk food is always in the headlines. If you are addicted to junk food, and you do not mind diseases like cancer, heart disease, and obesity, it will scare you, perhaps forcing you to have a healthy diet.

Excessive consumption of junk food

Excessive consumption of junk food can cause cognitive decline and lead to Alzheimer's. If you want to live a long and healthy life, then quit your junk food addiction. Dietary studies have indicated that some foods increase the health of your brain.

Consumption of certain other foods will prevent brain function from decreasing. Eat green, leafy vegetables to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your body and brain. Berries and nuts are also excellent choices. Antioxidants fight free radicals and protect your body from oxidative stress. This is how they protect your mind from the adverse effects of ageing.

Not drinking enough water

Not drinking enough water affects your brain. This is not just minor negligence. People who are dehydrated continuously find it challenging to concentrate. The lack of fluids and electrolytes in your body shortens your attention span, increases your reaction time, and contributes to cognitive dysfunction.

Head injuries

A traumatic head injury can affect your cognitive function. It can also lead to mood disorders, aggressive behaviour, speech problems, and impaired memory.

Because of this, Alzheimer's disease is more likely to develop. Repeated head injuries also affect your cognitive abilities. Experts say that head injuries double the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Sugar addiction

If you like sweets a lot, then there is bad news for you. Your sweet may be the reason behind the increased Alzheimer's danger. High sugar intake can spoil your brain's performance.

This changes the level of beneficial bacteria in your intestine and creates an environment conducive to harmful bugs in the gut. This gut bug is known to reduce cognitive flexibility in humans. And not only this, sugar addiction causes diabetes, which later leads to Alzheimer's.

Foods that help prevent Alzheimer's


Green vegetables

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Various studies have shown that leafy green vegetables help in dealing with Alzheimer's disease. Leafy greens help slow down the aging process of your body, making you look younger. Individuals who consume around a cup and half a day show a lower risk of dementia.

A steady diet of greens is primarily associated with lower levels of cognitive decline in younger people. Studies show that individuals who include leafy greens in their diet are about eleven years younger in terms of the brain. Therefore, if someone in your family has had Alzheimer's before, you can consider leafy greens to prevent it.

Berries

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Berry is considered the best fruit to consume due to its high level of nutrients and antioxidants. As the years go by, your body undergoes oxidative DNA damage; this is why you get older.

The antioxidants in berries help you slow down free radicals. Like leafy greens, grains reduce your risk of cognitive decline. One study focused on 16,000 older adults for 20 years, who ate large amounts of berries, showed less dementia and Alzheimer's symptoms.

Wine

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Research has shown that small amounts of wine may be useful for fighting Alzheimer's. Although it has only been tested on mice, it shows that two and a half glasses of red wine can cause less inflammation in the brain. So, if you are fond of beer, now may be the time to switch to alcohol.

Beans

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Beans are full of fantastic health benefits and are so useful in Alzheimer's disease that it cannot be mentioned. These are not everyone's favorite food, but its benefits are surprising. Beans are a terrible source of antioxidants, but polyphenols are very good against free radicals that cause aging.

Beans are an essential part of mind diet. It is a group of diets that help increase your brain health. Researchers also included this fantastic diet during a 2015 study on the link between food and cognitive decline. Effects against Alzheimer's are not the only reason to eat beans. You should also note that they are low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

Fish

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

You may be aware that consuming fish regularly can help protect your brain, but did you know that fish act as a powerful weapon when it comes to battling Alzheimer's. This mind is an essential member of the diet. If you take the advice of an expert, you should consume it at least once a week.

Fish carries a specific omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. It is short for docosahexaenoic acid. DHA helps support brain function as well as reduce inflammation in the body. It can also improve your thought process. It is mainly found in oily fish such as salmon and anchovies. Researchers have found lower DHA levels in Alzheimer's patients than those with healthy brains.

Nuts

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Nuts are among the best options when it comes to mind diet. Not only are they easily accessible, but they are also very beneficial for brain functioning. Nuts are enriched with nutrients. Do you know that just one ounce contains about twelve per cent of your daily vitamin E. High-quality antioxidants are found in nuts? Studies show that walnuts are more effective than fish to fight free radicals.

Olive oil

Are You at Risk for Getting Alzheimer's disease?

Olive oil has many health benefits. It contains an enormous amount of nutrients. It is another staple member of the diet of the mind. Its various antioxidants work against Alzheimer's by inhibiting the formation of beta-amyloid plaques inside your brain cells.

A study conducted in 2017 showed that extra virgin olive oil prevents brain inflammation. It can also trigger and activate a process called Autophagy. This is when your brain cells clear toxins and harmful debris. A study back in 2017 was conducted on mice who were given small pieces of virgin olive oil, finding that they had high levels of Itachi as well as low levels of beta-amyloid.

Treatment of Alzheimer's disease


Alzheimer's disease is usually a slow process. The disease affects people differently, and therefore individuals respond to different treatments uniquely. As Alzheimer's progresses, the afflicted person has less control over their emotions and ability to express them.

Currently, no drug or treatment program can prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. However, some medications have proved successful for those individuals who are in mild and moderate stages of the disease.

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