Alzheimer’s is described as a progressive, age-related neurodegenerative disorder.
It is the most common cause of loss of memory in elderly persons.
The incidence of the disease is rising and the age of onset period is going towards an early age.
So it might be quite possible that the Alzheimer’s signs may appear at an early age.
Progression of Alzheimer’s is very gradual and non-stop and life expectancy is roughly around 6 to 12 years of initiation of the disease.
The prominent symptoms include impairment of memory, disturbances in reasoning, planning, language and also perception.
The neurotransmitter acetylcholine diminution and formation of amyloid plaques are the cause of disease.
Alzheimer’s stages & signs
They are time-based stages seen in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. They can be classified as
Initial or early-stage: This is a mild stage and the duration period is 2-4 years.
Here there is impairment of short-term memory but, the distant memories are present in the patient. Frequent memory loss is seen particularly in recent conversations and events; even there are chances of repeated questions, problems in expressing and understanding language. Writing and using objects becomes difficult and can lead to depression. One may need to remind them about daily activities. Mostly this starting phase of Alzheimer’s stage goes unnoticed even by the physicians.
Mid-stage: This is a middle/moderate stage and the duration is 2-10 years. Here there is a considerable amount of decline in memory and cognition. They may have an inability to perform visuospatial skills like the inability to remember the way to the office or home and recognizing the shape and size of objects etc. Rambling speech, unusual reasoning, confusion about current events, time, and place. Sleep disturbances, emotional and behavioral problems that are aggravated by stress are noticed. One can even see rigidity, tremors, and gait problems with an impact on mobility. But still, there is a proper level of alertness and coordination of movements.
Moderate stage: There is increased memory loss and confusion. Even there are problems recognizing family and friends. Inability to learn new things, difficulty carrying out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting dressed). Delusions and paranoia are also seen.
Late-stage. This is the stage which leads to complication of vital body functions. It is considered a severe stage and the duration is 1-3 years. Loss of recognition of familiar people and places. The patient shows total loss of verbal skills, problems with swallowing, incontinence of urine, and illness. There are muscular contractions and immobility, which can severe the other associated disease condition like pulmonary embolism etc., leading to death.
Though there are potential treatment options at different Alzheimers stages, there is no permanent cure and only the degeneration may be slowed and the normal lifestyle of the victim can be maintained for quite some time.
Consider some risk factors which can make you prone to Alzheimer’s from the table below.
Though among the factors mentioned in the table are inevitable or not under our control, some of the risk factors can be well minimized like smoking, alcoholism, having an active lifestyle and free from mental depression or disorders.