CogniFit's Science blog: What Happens When Alzheimer’s Disease Strikes Your Loved One?

What Happens When Alzheimer’s Disease Strikes Your Loved One?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a physical illness which causes big changes in the brain. People suffering from Alzheimer’s experience healthy brain tissue degenerating, causing a memory decline, and an inability to use their brain to perform tasks.

As time goes on, a person with Alzheimer’s disease is unable to remember, speak, or think clearly.

Sadly, patients are often restless. A total personality change and the inability to perform even the simplest of tasks are a tell-tale sign of Alzheimer’s.

If you suspect a loved one of having Alzheimer’s disease, it is wise to visit a doctor to have them tested. Early diagnosis is critical with this disease. Available treatment options may improve the quality of a patient’s life and delay Alzheimer’s stages.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is today not yet treatable. It is an irreversible brain disease with no cure. Age is the most common risk factor. Heredity seems to be more common in early-onset Alzheimer’s (before the age of 65).

Alzheimer’s disease gets worse over time. As the disease progresses, the people who suffer from it depend totally on being cared for by others. Their symptoms and how badly they occur vary among individuals.

There are three stages of Alzheimer’s disease; mild, moderate, and severe. Every stage can last for several years or more, so it is helpful to understand what stage your loved one is in. Caregivers must be educated in how to understand what stage the patient is in.

• Early stage Alzheimer’s disease is when the person asks the same questions or repeats stories throughout the day and forgets meetings or errands.
• Mid stage Alzheimer’s disease starts with the patient constantly repeating the same questions and stories throughout the day
• Late stage finds the patient unable to speak or recognize any close family members. They tend to wander and get lost.

We still do not know what exactly causes the deterioration of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s patients have two indicators called plaques and tangles. As these structures spread through the brain, they kill nerve cells, shrinking entire regions of the brain and neurons.

It is important for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients to be reassured that they are not alone and that help is available. Look for local support groups in your area. Learning as much as you can about Alzheimer’s disease may also help you cope and find alternative solutions.