Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink and affects memory, behavioral and social skills. This disease gradually develops and becomes more severe.
It is the most common cause of dementia and can be treated with medication and lifestyle management, but cannot be cured. Studies show that Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of genetics (less than 1% is caused by genetics), lifestyle, environmental factors, untreated depression, and cardiovascular disease.
What causes Alzheimer’s is not fully understood.
Symptoms usually start with minor memory problems, however as the disease gradually develops, symptoms will become more noticeable, such as;
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Personality changes (becoming aggressive or suspicious)
- Confusion or disorientation
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Problems with speech
Alzheimer’s is most common in people over the age of 65, but 1 in every 20 people with the disease is under the age of 65, this is called early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
As the disease progresses slowly, it may be difficult to recognize the problem and could be mistaken as part of “simply getting old”.
An accurate diagnosis will give you the best chance to prepare and plan for future treatment and support. If there is a concern regarding yourself or a loved one, it may be a good idea to visit your GP.
People with the disease can live for several years after they start to develop symptoms, but this will vary from person to person. And even though it is a life-limiting illness, many people diagnosed with the condition will die from other causes.
It can be a daunting task to deal with it by yourself, however, with the right help and support from people that have been trained and educated in dealing with Alzheimer’s, you don’t have to feel like it is out of your control. Abbey Cross Lodge