Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness

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Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s the most common cause of dementia and while it primarily affects older individuals, it can be diagnosed in those under the age of 65. While there is currently no cure there are treatment options.

Early detection and intervention are crucial as individuals, or their loved ones can seek appropriate medical care and support as quickly as possible. The key to early detection is knowing the signs so, let’s explore 5 of the major warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory Loss

Probably the most commonly associated symptom is memory loss. This can begin with forgetting recently learned information or things like important dates and events. While occasional lapses are common and normal for aging individuals, those with Alzheimer’s will forget vital information and really struggle to recall it later. Someone suffering from the disease might ask for the same information over and over again especially when it comes to learning new things.

  • Difficulties Problem-Solving & Planning

Alzheimer’s disease can also impair an individual’s ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. Their “working” memory also known as short-term memory is first to start deteriorating making it hard to complete or learn simple tasks. You may notice they struggle with following a new recipe or start having issues managing finances and tracking monthly expenses. These individuals may show increased frustration and aggravation as tasks that were once easy start taking more time and requiring more concentration.

  • Confusion with Orientation

People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s often lose track of time and struggle to recognize familiar places. They may forget an event has already happened or how recently said event was. Additionally, they may find it hard to navigate even in their own neighborhood or other familiar areas. This sense of disorientation can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and in some cases paranoia.

  • Language Impairment

Difficulty finding the right words is another early symptom of the disease. Individuals might struggle to find the right words, often pausing mid-sentence or using vague phrases to compensate for their confusion. This means they may also have trouble following or participating in conversations. Individuals may start withdrawing socially as the increasing difficulty of conversing causes intense frustration and sometimes embarrassment. 

  • Changes in Mood and Personality

Another major symptom of Alzheimer’s is experiencing drastic changes in mood and personality. Friends and family may notice a significant shift in the person’s behavior and emotions. They may become easily irritable, suspicious, anxious, or depressed. These shifts can occur due to the confusion and frustration caused by cognitive decline and can put a heavy strain on the person’s personal relationships.

Recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease is vital for early diagnosis and intervention. While experiencing one or more of these signs does not automatically mean an individual has Alzheimer’s, it is essential to consult a medical professional for a thorough evaluation if any concerns arise.

Currently, there is no cure for the disease but there are treatments available which can help individuals with comfort and independence as well as provide assistance to caregivers. Lecanemab and aducanumab are immunotherapies to treat early Alzheimer’s. They help reduce amyloid plaques and further research is being done to test the drugs’ ability to slow cognitive decline.

For mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, Galantamine, Rivastigmine, and Donepezil are cholinesterase inhibitors that can help reduce or even control some cognitive and behavioral symptoms. They work by preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is believed to be important for memory and thinking.

For moderate to severe Alzheimer’s memantine can be prescribed to help decrease symptoms to maintain certain daily functions. It’s usually prescribed during the later stages to help with patient independence and assist caregivers.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, do not hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for guidance and support. Remember, early detection can make a significant difference in managing the disease and maintaining the best possible quality of life.

For more information on health in general please check out more of our blogs.

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