What is Alzheimer's disease? - Health Care and Fitness

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease, also known as Alzheimer disease, or just Alzheimer's, accounts for 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation , mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self care, and behavioral. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Although the speed of progression can vary, the average life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years. The cause of Alzheimer's disease is poorly understood. About 70% of the risk is believed to be genetic with many genes usually involved. Other risk factors include a history of head injuries, depression, or hypertension. The disease process is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. Mental and physical exercise and avoiding obesity may decrease the risk of AD. No treatments stop or reverse its progression, though some may temporarily improve symptoms.

Exercise programs are beneficial with respect to activities of daily living and can potentially improve outcomes. Treatment of behavioral problems or psychosis due to dementia with antipsychotics is common but not usually recommended due to there often being little benefit and an increased risk of early death. In 2010, there were between 21 and 35 million people worldwide with AD.

Memory loss
Trouble planning and problem solving
Daily tasks are a challenge
Times and places are confusing
Changes in vision
Words and conversations are frustrating 
You lose things
Lapse in judgment
Social withdrawal
Mood changes

There is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer's. While physicians can almost always determine if a person has dementia, it may be difficult to determine the exact cause. Diagnosing Alzheimer's requires careful medical evaluation, including:
A thorough medical history
Mental status testing
A physical and neurological exam
Tests (such as blood tests and brain imaging) to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms.

There are no proven ways to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is epidemiological evidence to suggest that leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce alzheimer’s disease. Regular physical activity and exercise may have a general protective effect on brain health and may slow progression of alzheimer’s disease. Although there are no specific dietary specifications for alzheimer’s a Mediterranean style diet (plants foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans) may reduce risk of alzheimer’s disease, and  has the added benefit of lowering CVS disease and diabetes risk.

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