Alzheimer's Disease

- AHT

It is a chronic progressive neurological disorder with symptoms that mostly appear during old age (Mid 60's).It causes degeneration of brain cells resulting in a continuous decline of cognitive skills(Thinking, Remembering and Reasoning) and behavioral skills.This slowly disturbs the person's ability to function independently and carry out basic everyday tasks.

What are the causes?

Scientific evidence suggests that complex changes in functioning of brain cells over decades with a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors for the cause of Alzheimer's Disease.It is very rare for a middle aged person to develop Alzheimer's.Early onset of the disease occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s,this amounts to only 10% of all the people diagnosed.People with Down's Syndrome have high chances of developing the disease, due to the extra copy of the chromosome 21 they carry.

Genetic


Most of the people diagnosed with the disease have late-onset form of the disease.Having a form of a gene apolipoprotein E(APOE) might increase the chances of having the disease.There are many forms of apolipoprotein E.However having the gene itself does not increase the chances of the disease.In some cases even person's without this gene have been diagnosed with the disease.


Environment and Lifestyle 


Research suggests that a wide range of lifestyle based diseases like heart diseases,hypertension and diabetes may have a role to play in the development of the disease other than genetic factors.Having a healthy lifestyle,physical exercise and less mental stress can help in reducing the risk factors associated with the disease.

Symptoms

Most of the signs and symptoms are related to Dementia.Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and cognitive skills, this accounts to 60%-80% of the cases diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.Alzheimer's is the most common cause of Dementia.

  1. Memory loss affecting the ability to function at work or at home.
  2. Difficulty in concentrating and thinking.
  3. Decline in taking decisions and judgments in everyday situations.
  4. Difficulty in performing routine tasks.
  5. Changes in mood and behavior.
  6. Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

Treatment & Research

Current Alzheimer's Disease treatments may temporarily improve symptoms or slow the rate of decline.Detection and treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time, even though the underlying disease process cannot be stopped or reversed.More than 400 new clinical trails are looking into new treatments for Alzheimer's Disease.

Treatments

There are several medications prescribed from mild,moderate to severe Alzheimer's which focus on helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of disease. It is important to understand that none of the medications stops the disease itself.


Research

Alzheimer's is at the forefront of biomedical research. Researchers are working to uncover as many aspects of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia's as possible.Researchers are focused on the role of two proteins
Plaques - Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid.
Tangles - Tangles are twisted fibers of Tau protein.
Most people develop Plaques and Tangles as they age, but those with Alzheimer's tend to develop these in higher number with a pattern.There are many pharmaceutical companies currently in the research and production of medication that can stop the progression of this disease.Currently, no medication exists that can stop the progression of this disease.