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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all diagnosed cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s affects memory, behavior and thinking. Symptoms typically develop slowly and progressively worsen over time, eventually becoming severe enough to make the most basic of activities impossible to accomplish.
There are three types of Alzheimer’s disease:
Although everyone experiences “senior moments” as they get older and they may have some slowed thinking and memory recall, the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s are much more profound. Therefore, when a person experiences serious memory loss, confusion or other significant changes in the way their mind works, it’s a sign that brain cells are failing.
The most common early symptom is difficulty recalling newly learned facts and information since Alzheimer’s typically affects the hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with learning. Other symptoms generally include:
For those with early-onset Alzheimer’s, they may also experience myoclonus, a form of muscle twitching or spasm.
Alzheimer’s progressively damages and destroys nerve cells in the brain. It also affects the cell’s ability to communicate with each other. The deterioration begins long before any evidence of memory loss is experienced.
Although most people develop abnormal structures in the brain called plaques and tangles, those with Alzheimer’s tend to develop many more than normal. These changes begin in the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory) before spreading to other parts of the brain.
As brain cells are damaged and destroyed, the brain shrinks significantly, eventually affecting all (or nearly all) brain functions.
Although there is no known cause for Alzheimer’s disease, there are specific risk factors associated with the disease. These include:
After performing a thorough medical evaluation, including blood work, physical exam and brain scans, your doctor will determine the presence of Alzheimer’s. Although there currently is no known cure for the disease and no way to stop its progression, medications can be used to lessen the symptoms (such as memory loss and confusion) for a limited time. Medications may also be prescribed to help with some of the behavioral symptoms associated with the disease, especially those that are severe, such as someone having the potential of harming themselves or others. However, these medications must be used carefully and are most effective when combined with non-drug approaches and therapies.
With all of the decisions you need to make in choosing a senior living community, we want to make sure you and your family have the information you need. Submit a request for more information and our team will be in touch shortly.
1320 Oakfield Drive, Brandon, FL 33511