Alzheimer’s – the dreaded brain degenerative disease is more common now than before. Increased life expectancy is one of the main reasons. More than 50% of those above 70 years age can develop this ailment. There are so many cases even those in their thirties being diagnosed with this disease. How can we recognize this ailment? Is dementia and the common memory losses associated with age or otherwise is same as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)?
Many patients and those who look after them are not able to distinguish between dementia and Alzheimer’s. Nowadays we read more and more about this disease so each time a family member is suffering from memory loss it is concluded as AD. There is a fundamental difference. AD is a type of dementia but not all dementia can be termed as Alzheimer’s. Apart from AD, other dementias exist like lewy body, Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and dementias due to various neurological and medical conditions.
Alzheimer’s dementia is a brain degeneration and neurological disorder. The symptoms are progressive and irreversible. There is a decline in cognition difficulty even in normal bodily functioning (both voluntary and involuntary) . There is chronic memory impairment.
In addition to memory impairment, people with Alzheimer’s are not able to communicate, learn, think and reason. These are severe problems and can affect every aspect of life. People with dementia cannot plan and complete even daily simple tasks like preparing a meal which they have been doing so easily, play a familiar game etc. Those with AD can loose their sense of time and place. They can get lost in familiar neighborhoods they can forget where they are and how they reached the place. Those with normal memory problems can forget the day of the week or where they kept the key. But Alzheimer’s patients may keep the key in their hand but will not feel it. They will have to look at it to realize they are holding it in their end.
The abstract thinking and normal grammar understanding capacity of AD patients is severely diminished. They cannot comprehend common proverbs and remember common words. When looking for shoe they may ask “the thing on my feet” instead of shoe. The judgment and reasoning levels of AD patients could become bizarre and illogical. They may wear layers of warm clothing in hot sunny days and little clothing in cold days. They may put their wrist watch in refrigerator. They may give out large sums of money as tips or those demanding simple charities. AD patients may show extreme mood swings in short time span like they may laugh at a moment and weep the next moment without any apparent reasons. This not like common manic depression problem.
These and few other are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. So if any of your friends or relatives or showing memory losses it may not be symptoms of AD. It takes a professional to accurately judge and decide on the problem.