We all have heard about the term ‘Alzheimer's’ at some point in our lives. When people come across the term instantly they know that it is a disease most common in the elderly population. You are right, Alzheimer’s disease is a serious brain disease that progresses as time goes by. Due to the advancing research and medicine, we know more about the illness now but there is still no cure. So what happens in this illness?
What are the causes and what are the effects? Find out more in this very short brief explanation of Alzheimer's disease:
- According to NIH , Alzheimer's disease is brain disorder that slowly destroys important functions from different parts of the brain as it spreads.
- The typical onset of the disease is in the elder population above the age of 65 but some could get an early onset of Alzheimer's before 65.
- Some of the symptoms are memory problems, language impairments, disorientation, problems with abstract thinking, personality changes, judgment problems.
- A protein called “Tau” plays an important role in nerve cell communication. When that tau protein is wrecked nerve cells can no longer communicate and the cells begin to die.
- It is a chain reaction, once the cell loss begins in the brain it spreads over time. The brain is divided into four lobes; temporal, occipital, parietal, and frontal. Early on in the disease, the temporal lobe gets affected where our memories are stored in the hippocampus. So the early symptoms of the disorder are loss of memories, retention problems, and short-term memory
- Next, as it spreads from the temporal lobe to the frontal lobe, functions such as language, logic, and personality are affected. As the disease progresses, parietal lobe gets affected. Patients with Alzheimer's begin to have problems with their movement and balance. Lastly, in the late stages, the disease invades important parts of the brain such as the brainstem which controls breathing, swallowing, heart rate and blood pressure.
- Due to the massive amounts of cell loss in people with Alzheimer's, it is found that their brain size shrinks compared to a normal brain.
- There is no cure for the disease or no treatments to stop it from progressing and medications only help to manage the symptoms.
- There is research going on substantially to control the causes of Alzheimer's. There are more components to the disorder rather than just the tau protein.
- According to Alzheimer's statistics, worldwide 44 million people have Alzheimer's. It is a fatal disease but research has found that people who exercise regularly. and stay fit reduce the risk by 50%.
It is a terrifying illness — our elderlies need all of our support and care.