Alzheimer's Disease: Things you Must Know



Alzheimer's disease

George Matthew Fernandez, the former Union Defence Minister, aged 88 years, passed away this morning following a prolonged illness. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and had recently contracted swine flu. He served his defence ministry position from 2001 to 2004 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government. 

Our honourable PM Narendra Modi expressed his grief at the demise of George Fernandez
He tweeted: 

Our honourable PM Narendra Modi expressed his grief at the demise of George Fernandez.


 
Let us know more about Alzheimer’s disease and how we can manage it with ease. 

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

When dementia progresses to a later stage, it is known as Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is used as a broader term for conditions that concerns the loss of memory, impaired thinking, and behavior caused by brain injuries or diseases. About 60-80% of the dementia cases culminate in Alzheimer’s and they get diagnosed only after 65 years of age. However, if they are diagnosed earlier, treatment can be administered to slow the progression of the disease.

Causes and risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease:

There is no single cause that can be determined for Alzheimer’s disease but a number of risk factors have been identified:

Family history:

If you have an immediate family member who has Alzheimer’s disease, you might be at a risk too. 

Age 

Age plays a very important factor in Alzheimer’s disease but doctors cannot tell why. People 65 yrs and above usually develop this disease.  

Genetics 

Certain genes have been believed to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Having these risk factors does not mean that you will have Alzheimer’s in the future; it simply raises your risk level.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:

We all have faced bouts of forgetfulness from time to time, but people with Alzheimer’s disease display certain chronic behavior and symptoms that might worsen over time.

  • Memory loss that affects daily activities
  • Trouble doing familiar tasks like using a washing machine or a microwave oven
  • Difficulty in solving problems
  • Trouble speaking and writing
  • Forgetting time, date and places
  • Decreased personal hygiene
  • Unable to judge
  • Withdrawal from family and social life

These symptoms might be negligible when the Alzheimer’s disease is on setting and the patient is always at a denial refusing doctor visits and treatment. This aggravates the symptoms and the condition degenerates.

If you notice any such symptoms, you must visit a doctor who will do several mental, physical, neurological, and imaging tests to determine the stage of your Alzheimer’s disease. MRIs, CT scans and PET scans help the doctor look for abnormal characteristics that determine Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease medication:

Recent news claims that scientists have developed a drug that has the potential to stop the breakdown of nerves and brain cells that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and other motor neuron diseases. These medicines are said to be made up of supercharged Vitamin A. Vitamin A when broken down by the body turns into a chemical called retinoic acid that is essential for the development of the nervous system, prevents nerve damage and boosts healthy nerve cells.  

Natural food sources of Vitamin A:

Get your daily fix of Vitamin A from these natural food sources –

  • Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Dried apricots
  • Red bell pepper
  • Pistachios
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet potato
  • Broccoli
  • Goji berries
  • Mango
  • Butternut squash

Vitamin A is important to maintain a healthy immune system and modulates neurogenesis, neuronal survival, and synaptic plasticity. Include enough Vitamin A in your diet to maintain healthy functioning of the brain and prevent degeneration of the nerve tissues. 

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