Alzheimer’s Disease: Understanding the Basics
A progressive condition, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that gets worse over time. As the disease develops, it affects the areas of the brain that control memory, thought, and behavior. As such, Alzheimer’s can result in mild to severe changes in behavior and personality. Additionally, Alzheimer’s can cause individuals to become disoriented, to forget their family members and friends, and to require expert care. The dementia care professionals at Always Best Care of the Midlands and Richland and Lexington counties, including Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, and surrounding areas, know that creating a secure living environment is key in helping your elderly loved one cope with Alzheimer’s disease. This entails learning about the condition and understanding how it will affect your family and your senior.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
To date, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. Despite this, there are numerous factors that are known to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s. These include:
- High blood pressure over a prolonged period of time
- Family history of the disease, as there is a genetic element to its development
- Being a female, as it occurs more often in women than in men
- Head trauma, even if it occurred years ago
Signs of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease results in a long list of symptoms; however, these often mirror the natural aging process. As such, it is important that family members and caretakers monitor these symptoms to detect any that become worse or are abnormally severe.
The most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease are personality changes, poor judgment, forgetfulness, memory loss, and difficulty speaking. Additionally, seniors may experience challenges understanding spatial or visual relationships. Furthermore, individuals may experience hallucinations or withdrawal from regular social activities, a sign that can parallel the symptoms of depression.
Physical symptoms can occur alongside these mental signs of Alzheimer’s. These include incontinence and difficulty swallowing.
Coming to a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is detected through differential diagnosis, which means that other illnesses must be ruled out before the diagnosis is made. Officially, though, Alzheimer’s disease cannot be confirmed until the brain tissue is examined—which cannot take place until after death. Despite this diagnostic challenge, MRI and CT scans, as well as other tests, are used to confirm the absence of other potential illnesses so a working diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured; however, there are treatment options that can slow the progression of the illness. As such, they can help manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and keep them from getting worse as quickly as they would without treatment.
The senior care professionals at Always Best Care of the Midlands (http://midlandssc.alwaysbestcare.com/franchisee2.aspx) provide Alzheimer’s care to patients with this form of dementia. They know that early detection and proper care are integral in maintaining a high quality of life for seniors with this condition.