What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder that causes the brain to atrophy and the brain cells to die. It is the most common cause of dementia which is a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that affect a person’s ability to function independently. It is named after the doctor who described the disorder first in 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear gradually, over various months or years. If these occur within a few hours or days, the person might require immediate medical attention as this could indicate a stroke.

Personality changes
Personality or behaviour changes
Cognitive deficits
Cognitive deficits
Difficulties with speaking
Difficulties with speaking, writing and reading
memory loss
Memory loss
Problems with recognition
Problems with recognition
spatial awareness
Problems with spatial awareness

Alzheimer’s occurs due to the death of brain cells, a neurodegenerative condition. The brain tissue of the patient has fewer nerve cells and connections along with tiny deposits known as plaques and tangles. Plaques are formed between the dying brain cells. The tangles are formed within the nerve cells.

Researchers have, however, not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of the disease.

Various tests can be done to screen for Alzheimer’s disease. Screening tests are easy to administer and require minimum training for the tester. They can be performed at almost all settings. Memory tests help in distinguishing Alzheimer’s patients from Mild cognitive impairment or MCI patients.

Alzheimer’s disease does not have a cure as of now. Much of the treatment has been symptomatic.

Treatments are focused on relieving the patients of the symptoms of the disease and to improve the quality of life for the patients.