Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease that gradually destroys memory and the ability to learn, speak, reason, judge, communicate, and maintain activities of daily living, and changes in behavior. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, which is popularly called 'dementia'. Alzheimer's disease affects all groups of society and is not related to social class, gender, ethnic group or geographic region.
In addition, Alzheimer's disease is more common among the elderly, although younger people can also be affected by this disease. Alzheimer's disease affects millions of people today. It is very important to know that Alzheimer's disease is not a normal consequence of aging. Because although there is no cure for the disease, there are treatments that can reduce the symptoms of the disease and improve the patient's quality of life.
What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
The causes of Alzheimer's disease are currently unknown. However, there are certain things that do not cause Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease; It does not occur due to hardening of the arteries. It does not occur because of the brain being used less or more than normal. It does not occur as a result of infection.
It is not caused by aging, it is not a natural part of the aging process. It does not develop due to exposure to aluminum or other metals. The exact causes of Alzheimer's are unknown, but it may be due to nutritional deficiencies. For example, Alzheimer's patients have been found to have low levels of B12 and zinc in their bodies. B vitamins are important for mental function but poor in processed foods.
Alzheimer's patients also have low levels of carotenoids, vitamins A and E. These substances have antioxidant properties and prevent free radicals from causing damage to brain cells. What are Alzheimer's Symptoms? Memory loss: Forgetting recent information and events is one of the most important findings of Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common cause of dementia (popularly called dementia).
The patient begins to forget more and more often, and then cannot remember them. Difficulty performing functions of daily living: Patients often have difficulty planning and completing their daily activities. They begin to have problems with tasks that involve certain steps, such as cooking, talking on the phone, or choosing clothes. Speech difficulties: Alzheimer's patients may have trouble finding words, may stumble while speaking, use definitions instead of words, for example, they may not remember the name of the toothbrush and say "what I use for my mouth" instead. As a result, it becomes difficult to understand what they say or write.
Confusing time and space: Alzheimer's patients may confuse the day, month, season, get lost in familiar places such as around their home, forget where they are, or may not remember what they are doing there. Difficulty in assessment and decision making: Alzheimer's patients may dress inappropriately, such as wearing layers in hot weather or wearing thin clothes in the cold. Difficulty in abstract thinking: Alzheimer's patients may experience unusual difficulties when performing complex mental tasks. Putting things in the wrong places: Alzheimer's patients may put things in unusual places: for example, an iron in the refrigerator or a watch in a candy jar. Also, they often forget where they put their things. Mood or behavioral changes: People with Alzheimer's may have mood swings for no apparent reason, for example, they may become suddenly and disproportionately irritable, cry quickly or withdraw, daydreams or misperceptions.
Personality changes: Patients may experience dramatic changes in their personality, become extremely suspicious, fearful, or dependent on a family member. Avoidance of responsibility: Alzheimer's patients may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping too much, or not doing their usual work. When one or more of these 10 symptoms are noticed by the individual or their relatives, it is important to consult a neurologist or psychiatrist without delay for early diagnosis of the disease.
Who and How Often Does Alzheimer's Disease Occur?
Alzheimer's is most common in people over the age of 65. This disease, which is seen in both men and women, has been found to be slightly more common in women. Studies have shown that this disease is seen in one out of every 15 people over the age of 65. Alzheimer's is seen in one out of every two people over the age of 80-85. There are more than 20 million Alzheimer's patients in the world. Approximately 300 thousand of these patients are in our country. The number of these patients is increasing day by day. Because the life expectancy of people in the world is getting longer and the number of elderly people is increasing.
How is Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosed?
If you have some of the symptoms, you should consult a psychologist or neurologist. Alzheimer's disease is tried to be differentiated from other diseases by brain film taken, blood tests and laboratory tests. Because not all forgetfulness is a symptom of this disease. In this way, the definitive diagnosis of the disease is made.
What is Alzheimer's Disease Treatment?
There is no definitive treatment for the disease. In other words, with the treatment, the disease cannot be completely eliminated. First of all, it should be known: Early diagnosis is very important in the treatment of this disease. With treatment, the progression of the disease is slowed down and the symptoms of the disease are reduced. The aim is to improve the patient's quality of life. In addition, various drugs are used to cope with emerging psychological problems. But if these drugs are not taken under the supervision of a doctor, they can lead to worse problems.