Alzheimers is a progressive brain disorder causing loss of memory and thinking skills. Alzheimers is a brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and ultimately, the ability to perform even the most basic tasks.
As the disease progresses, an individual suffering from Alzheimers disease will experience significant memory loss and will lose the ability to perform daily tasks. Alzheimers severely impacts memory, thinking, learning, and organizational skills, ultimately impacting the persons ability to perform basic everyday tasks.
Memory and language loss, poor judgment, and other cognitive changes caused by Alzheimers may make it difficult to treat other medical conditions. Declines in other aspects of thought, such as finding the right words, visual/spatial problems, and faulty reasoning or judgment, may also indicate the very early stages of Alzheimers.
As Alzheimers progresses into the late stages of Alzheimers, changes to the brain begin to impact physical functions, such as swallowing, balance, and control of bowel and bladder movements. This is a result of complicated changes to the brain, which start years before symptoms occur, leading to loss of brain cells and connections. It is the destruction and death of nerve cells that causes memory failure, personality changes, problems performing everyday tasks, and other symptoms of Alzheimers.
The slow, steady death of nerve cells, starting in a single brain region (usually in the memory-controlling regions of the brain) then spreading to other regions, causes the symptoms seen in patients with Alzheimers. As Alzheimers progresses throughout the brain, it leads to more severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood, and changes in behavior; increased confusion over events, times, and places; a baseless suspicion about family, friends, and professional caretakers; greater memory loss and changes in behavior; and difficulties speaking, swallowing, and walking.
Alzheimers symptoms may be treated, but they are not cures… However, several medications may help with symptoms like decreased memory, changes in language, thinking skills, and movement skills. Scientists do not completely understand what causes Alzheimers, though it is thought that aging, personal health, family history, genetics, and abnormal deposits of proteins in the brain may all contribute. Alzheimers is the most common cause of dementia – the continued loss of mental, behavioral, and social skills, which impacts the individuals ability to function independently.
Dementia includes more specific conditions, like Alzheimers, Parkinsons, brain injuries, and others, which may cause these symptoms. Symptoms progress from a mild cognitive issue, such as memory loss, to increasing stages of cognitive impairments and non-cognitive impairments, eliminating any chance for independent living, particularly at late stages of Alzheimers disease (AD). Some individuals will survive for long periods with only mild cognitive impairment, whereas others experience more rapid onset of symptoms and a faster rate of disease progression. Subtle problems with executive functions such as attention, planning, flexibility, and abstract reasoning, or with impairments in semantic memory (memory of meanings and conceptual relationships), may also be symptoms of early-stage Alzheimers disease (AD).
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