What are symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that can affect a person's thoughts and behavior. Symptoms usually appear after age 65 and the disease progresses over five to 10 years. The number of people with this disease increases with age as almost half the world's over-85 population has Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms get progressively worse as Alzheimer's patients age.
Early stage Alzheimer's disease symptoms
Symptoms change as this disease progresses. In the early stages, a person may have short-term memory loss, find it difficult to solve problems or perform tasks such as paying bills, or forget intended tasks or people's names. During this early stage, people with Alzheimer's disease may notice these changes and share their concerns with loved ones or cover up problems effectively. As the disease progresses, the person may become aggressive or confused, wander away from home, or have difficulty understanding language.
Late stage Alzheimer's disease symptoms
In the late stages of Alzheimer's disease, they may experience problems with body function, such as loss of sensation in the hands and feet, bladder problems, difficulty walking, and seizures. Many scientists believe that a decrease in acetylcholine, a chemical messenger found in the brain, causes the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Environmental factors have also been suspected, but their role in the disease remains unclear.
Coping with Alzheimer's disease
In the early stages of the disease, friends and family can help reduce the person's depression and aggression by changing their own behavior and the person's environment. Try to limit the number of choices they have to make, reduce distractions, and maintain a consistent routine. Reduce clutter, but keep things located in the same place. Keep noise levels down. Learn to recognize and avoid activities that prompt outbursts or unwanted behavior. To deal with declining memory, use notebooks, colored labels, or lists to help the person to remember things. There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease yet, but these strategies and prescription treatments can help to reduce symptoms.