Alzheimer’s Disease is the most commonly observed neurodegenerative disorder. It’s 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’s is a very common form of dementia characterized by memory loss. In 2013, six million people were affected by the disease in the United States. The CDC has estimated a 50 percent rise in the number of people affected by the disease over the age of 65 every five years. In younger people, the percentage of incidence is very small. Males are more prone to Alzheimer’s than females. It has been ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Factors Responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists are working hard to get clarification about Alzheimer’s. So far it is clear that the disease develops due to complex results of multiple factors rather than any one cause. As of now, age and genetics play the major role in disease manifestations, although much research is needed to understand other factors which contribute to its development.
The greatest risk factor for the disease is the increasing age of the person. It’s been suggested that the risk of developing the disease increases or doubles every five years. Another possible risk factor is family history. If there are Alzheimer’s patients in your family such as brothers, sisters or parents, then there is an increased risk of developing the disease through hereditary or environmental causative factors.
Symptoms Associated with 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’s 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, which plays a central role in day to day memory.
Memory loss due to Alzheimer’s increasingly interferes with daily life as the condition progresses. The person may:
- Lose items around the house.
- Struggle to find 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 is 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 damage of brain cells. Plaques have been observed in between the dying cells of the brain from the accumulation of protein known as the beta amyloid proteins. There’s also reported disintegration of another protein, the tau protein, resulting in deposition of tangles between the axonal regions of the brain cells.
These depositions can delay or halt the signaling process of the brain between brain cells. Due to loss of work, neurons may become damaged or weak. The disease may progressively lead to the loss of neurons, leading to shrinkage of the total brain.