Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative illness which affects the central nervous system and leads to progressive and irreversible loss of cognitive, mental and functional capacities. The person affected by Alzheimer’s disease has some difficulty taking care of his/her affairs, speaking, communicating and orienting him or herself. It is the main cause of dementia in the elderly and the disease generally appears after the age of 65.
Near a century after the discovery of Alzheimer’s disease, its causes remain unknown and no treatment has been found to cure it.
The first symptom is memory loss for recent information. The person forgets, for example, where he/she left his/her keys, where he/she parked the vehicle, asks the same questions repetitively or repeats the same stories without realizing it. Forgetfulness first appears to be caused by minor distractions, then symptoms gradually become more prominent with disease progression.
In more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive deficits involve language, driving, recognition, and executive functions (planning and decision-making). Screening for Alzheimer’s disease is very important in order to begin early treatment and delay disease progression.
Diagnosis is established when we have dismissed all other causes of cognitive impairment, for example: anxiety, depression, overwork and certain medication. We have to observe the patient for a while to confirm our diagnosis. The help of the family is precious, because they will observe progression of symptoms. Before confirming the diagnosis, at least two cognitive symptoms must be apparent; memory loss, spatial disorientation, language disturbance and these symptoms should also have an impact on the patient’s functional autonomy.
During follow-up visits at our clinic, the well-being of the patient and his/her family are assessed every six (6) months to one year. Questions on the patient’s abilities and reactions are also addressed.
Science allows us to better understand various risk factors and protective factors in relation to Alzheimer’s disease onset. Early detection and confirmation of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis should not be perceived as a reason to despair, but rather as a moment to try and slow disease progression by taking the necessary measures and institute the appropriate care.
Here are some activities that can help you stay quick-witted: writing, dancing, playing cards, playing chess, sudoku. Work out your neurons! It is important to use your brain as often as possible by choosing stimulating and varied activities. Developing new interests and learning new information is very important, both in leisure activities and at work.
Several specialists confirm that maintaining a social network is also important. Communicating with others, forces you to draw from your memories, structure your thoughts, allows you to share knowledge and assimilate new information. These activities will help you preserve your brain and to remain alert.
The brain benefits from the effects of physical activity.
Experts agree that healthy food also protects the brain. Consume fish to fill up with omega-3. Some studies have shown that omega-3 may decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Statistics from website alzheimer.ca
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