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What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most commonly observed neurodegenerative disorder. It is associated with memory loss and difficulty with cognitive functions of the body. It can be referred to as an adverse form of dementia that can progressively worsen due to the death or degeneration of neurons.
How prevalent is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer is a very common form of dementia characterized by memory loss. In 2013, six million people were affected by the disease in US. The CDC has estimated a 50% rise in the number of people affected by the disease over the age of 65 years every five years. In this regard, an expected projection of 14 million people by the end of 2025 has been put forth by many health institutions.
Although found in younger people the percentage of incidence is very small. Males are more prone to the diseased condition compared to females. Since the death rate of the disease is increasing, it has been ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Factors responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists all over the world are working hard to get clarification about Alzheimer’s. So far it is clear that the disease develops due to the complex results of multiple factors rather than any one particular cause. As of now, age and genetics play the major role in disease manifestations, although much research is needed to understand many other factors which are contributing to its development.
The greatest risk factor for the disease is the growing age of the person. It has been suggested that the risk of developing the disease increases or doubles every five years. Another possible risk factor is the family history of the disease. It has been observed that if there are Alzheimer patients in your family as brothers, sisters or parents then there is increased risk of developing the disease through either hereditary or environmental causative factors. These studies have revealed that both risk genes and deterministic genes can be present in those with a family history of the disease.
Symptoms Associated with the Alzheimer’s Disease
In progressive diseases like Alzheimer’s, initially mild versions of symptoms are expressed which are generally ignored until they worsen and interfere with daily life. It is necessary to understand that no two Alzheimer cases are the same; their experiences with the symptoms can differ in a drastic way. Thus, some of the common symptoms can be noted as a precaution. The most typical symptom of the disease are memory lapses due to early damage of the brain in the hippocampus region. This plays a central role in day to day memory.
Memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease increasingly interferes with the daily life as the condition progresses. The person may:
- Lose items around the house.
- Struggle to find out the right words in the conversation or forget somebody’s name
- Forget about the recent conversation, event, situation, etc.
- Get lost in familiar places or journeys.
What goes wrong in Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease neurodegenerative disorder named after the scientist Alois Alzheimer. It involves progressive damage of neurons and leads to death. Post mortem analysis of the brain with the disease has revealed that nerve tissue has many tiny inclusions of proteins known as Plaques and tangles, which interfere with the signaling mechanism of the brain leading to the damage of brain cells. Plaques has been observed in between the dying cells of the brain from the accumulation of protein known as the Beta Amyloid proteins. There is also reported disintegration of another protein known as the tau protein, resulting in the deposition of tangles between the axonal regions of the brain cells.
These depositions can delay or halt the signaling process of the brain between the brain cells. Due to loss of work, neurons may become damaged or weak. The disease may thus progressively lead to the loss of neurons leading to the shrinkage of the total brain.