What You Need To Know About Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and irreversible disorder. It causes issues with memory, thinking, behavior, and simple daily tasks. Nerve cells within the brain are damaged over time causing these neurological problems. This disease most commonly manifests itself in individuals age 60 or above, but can be seen in individuals as young as age 40 to 50 as well.
Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are varying degrees of symptoms in an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms start off mild and continue to worsen until the individual can no longer perform daily tasks essential to independence. The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problem with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease comes through medical investigation and multiple diagnostic tests. There is not one definitive test for diagnosis. Medical providers will talk with the patient and receive an in depth medical history from them. Mental status testing will be performed on the patient including tasks involving memory, attention, language, common daily activities, and more. Blood tests and/or brain imaging (CT or MRI) may be performed to rule out any other possible diagnosis. The only definitive diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease can be done after death with an examination of brain tissue.
Is There A Cure?
Although there is not currently a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is a great deal of ongoing research happening. For more information on current research, a great resource is the Alzheimer’s Association Research Center.