Posted by Kevin Johnson.
More and more, seniors are needing home care due to the debilitating disease know as Alzheimer’s. There are many forms of dementia with Alzheimer’s being perhaps the most well known. Because of the confusion, I want to post information to provide clarity to readers on this subject.
First, dementia isn’t a specific disease. Instead, it describes a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. It’s caused by conditions or changes in the brain. Different types of dementia exist, depending on the cause. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type.
Memory loss generally occurs in dementia, but memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss along with impaired judgment or language. Dementia can make you confused and unable to remember people and names. You may also experience changes in personality and social behavior. However, some causes of dementia are treatable and even reversible.
- Memory loss
- Difficulty communicating
- Inability to learn or remember new information
- Difficulty with planning and organizing
- Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
- Personality changes
- Inability to reason
- Inappropriate behavior
Although there are several main types of progressive dementia, (dementias that get worse with time), as I mentioned above Alzheimers Disease is perhaps the most prominent.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the destruction of brain cells. Although the exact cause isn’t known, two types of brain cell (neuron) damage are common in people who have Alzheimer’s disease. These include plaques (clumps of a normally harmless protein called beta-amyloid) and tangles (fibrous tangles made up of an abnormal protein called tau protein). Alzheimer’s disease usually progresses slowly, over seven to 10 years, causing a gradual decline in cognitive abilities. Eventually, the affected part of the brain isn’t able to work properly because of limited functions, including those involving memory, movement, language, judgment, behavior and abstract thinking. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in people age 65 and older. Symptoms usually appear after age 60, although early-onset forms of the disease can occur, usually as the result of a defective gene.
Hopefully, this brief overview will provide information that provides clarity to issues you or someone you know might be facing. From time-to-time, I’ll post additional information regarding Alzheimer’s dementia.
Research information for this post was attained from the Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is one of many great resources doing work to understand and treat Alzheimer’s dementia.