Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Ian Evans
The human mind is your most powerful asset, so diseases related to your brain can be severe. One such disease is Alzheimer’s Disease, which has recently grown globally. It can result in total memory loss. So Alzheimer’s risk factors can be very serious if not taken care of.
People with Alzheimer’s have a hard time. As a family member of someone with this disease, it might be difficult for you to see its progress. We understand that any sort of brain-related disease is hard to process. This is especially true if your loved one deteriorates before you.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Before we proceed, you must understand what Alzheimer’s is. As you know, this is a brain disorder. It tampers with your brain and starts to mess with your memory. It is an extended form of memory loss. Alzheimer’s is often equated with dementia. While this is not strictly incorrect, it’s also very unlike dementia due to several factors.
Differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia refers to many symptoms which reflect a decline in thinking, reasoning and memory skills. It is the result of different health conditions- one of these is Alzheimer’s. It is not a normal part of growing old and can affect how the patient interacts with the world, how they communicate, and how they function.
In contrast, Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative disease that causes the brain to shrink. As a result, brain cells start to die or deteriorate. This leads to a continuous decline in your neurological capabilities.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. It is a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills. This starts to impact an individual’s ability to function.
Alzheimer’s soon starts to impact the way you function in the day-to-day business. Think of it as a form of a parasite that starts to eat the brain cells, making them lose thinking skills.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
The disease is not that difficult to ignore. Its signs are very similar to dementia, or any other disorders related to memory loss. One of its most common forms of symptoms is frequent or recurring headaches.
It starts to minimize the brain cells, causing them to shrink. This will give the dementia patient very long headaches. On some occasions, these headaches can become very more recurring. There is a loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain.
Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the body and the brain. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s too.
Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s include depression or frequent depressive episodes. Depression is caused by cognitive changes which start to become much more evasive.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Other symptoms include:
- feeling feverish every once in a while
- inability to comprehend what is said or done
- loss of ability to respond on time
- the disparity in a person’s speech abilities
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is said to be known as a brain parasite. The damage that it brings is persistent and ongoing. It is one of the fastest-growing brain diseases in the world. It inflicts in the brain and starts to grow faster there like a plague.
It is a form of cancer that starts to eat up all the brain. The majority of the damage appears in the hippocampus of the brain.
The direct causes of Alzheimer’s are unknown. There are many factors that determine whether a person will have Alzheimer’s or not. A person with Alzheimer’s in their family has a greater risk of getting it than someone who does not. Alzheimer’s is heredity and can transmit into your genes.
Other causes of Alzheimer’s
The other cause of Alzheimer’s is the abnormal buildup of protein around the brain cells. One of the proteins involved, amyloid, deposits plaques around brain cells. The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.
The causes of the development of the disease are not talked about in depth. No one knows how long has it been developing. The only time a person knows they have Alzheimer’s is if the symptoms become more permanent. Before the symptoms appear, it is all unknown. Age is the single most crucial factor as well.
Does it get worse with age?
With age, the chances of getting Alzheimer’s increase, and so do the risk factors attached to each. Down’s syndrome is also another side effect of Alzheimer’s. This is because changes that cause Down’s syndrome can also cause amyloid plaques. A brain injury also causes Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Risk Factors: How Does It Affect Older People?
The impact of Alzheimer’s in older people can be very dangerous. It has been noted that older people are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s than younger ones. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, and so it can go from bad to worse.
Age is a factor
Older people already suffer from a variety of other health issues. Due to health issues, certain drugs or pills might negatively impact the brain’s neurology. They can encourage the growth of Alzheimer’s in the brain.
Unlike the young brain, an adult brain loses the ability to develop and nurture itself as it gets old. As a result, older people start to lose a sense of communication and understanding. The brain begins to malfunction and starts to slow down every other area of the human body. As a result, the body soon starts to become slower in responding to different things.
The nature of the disease
Over time, those neurons’ death affects memory, behavior, and physical functions as well. You start losing basic details of your childhood and even of your history. It even messes with the attention span, which impacts your ability to think and respond fast.
It flowers down the entire system. Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s. But initial symptoms may vary from person to person. A decline in other aspects of vision/spatial issues and impaired reasoning may also signal the very early stages.
In adults, Alzheimer’s is termed to be a slow coma. A person suffering from it starts to walk towards it on its own. Adults suffering from the disease may even suffer from other more serious brain illnesses. Alzheimer’s starts to develop into dementia or much worse neurological disorders. It can even lead to the development of tumors and cancers.
How Do You Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s Risk Factors?
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But some medicines can slow down all the symptoms. These medicines can make an individual easier to live as they can slow down the death of the brain cells. So, what is it that you can do about it?
Nothing beats early treatment
One way to treat Alzheimer’s is to start treating it early. When you start noticing the symptoms, it is best to take your patient to the doctor immediately. The doctor will diagnose and give proper medications. The doctor can even guide you with what you should start doing immediately.
Know what to expect
If you want to look after your loved one, you must start learning about all the different things you can expect. Alzheimer’s tampers with a person’s memory. So, they might end up doing unexpected behavior. In some cases, they may do things they might not remember later, such as forgetting to lock the house at night. They may even lose control over themselves.
For instance, their body may stop responding more and more often. As a result, they may stop responding to basic activities such as understanding what’s happened. So, it is best to first learn about the disease all by yourself and then start preparing for what you should be doing.
Get rid of burdens
You must relieve your loved one with Alzheimer’s from all forms of responsibility. This way, it will help them focus on healing and prevent them from making any major mistakes. But it does not mean you strip them of their normal routine or life. They should continue to live as they do without any stress. They should be kept separate from situations that might worry or stress them.
If the situation seems to be tense, then you can even ask for help. It is good to hire someone, such as a nurse, who can attend to their needs at all times. That way, the responsibility of looking after themselves can be completely relieved.
Keep an eye on their mental health
The patient may even start to get more depressed and anxious. If you notice these symptoms, then you must consult your doctor immediately. They will start to give your loved one medication for that.
Try to make sure that you surround yourself with as much care as possible. You have to be attentive at everything they do, so you must be ready to assist them at all times. Helping an Alzheimer’s patient can be very tricky, so you must be ready at all times.
How to Respond when They Start to Forget?
Loss of memory is one of the most significant Alzheimer’s risk factors. A patient who has Alzheimer’s soon starts to forget. They start to forget the basic aspects of their life and start missing out on the minutest of all details.
Remember: It’s all the disease!
This can be triggering for many people. You must be prepared. The first thing you should do is accept that this may happen. You should understand where the memory loss is coming from. The patient has no control over it, so you must not feel bad at all. Not being recognized or seeing that someone can no longer remember you or anything substantial can be very stressful.
In many cases, people tend to act out of anger, but you need to understand that will not be the point. The first thing you must do is stay calm. Even if a different name or the person is calling you out does not recognize you, you must remain calm. You should continue to assist them without feeling disheartened.
Remind them who they are
You should make sure that they keep remembering. Show them photos or drop by small reminders to understand, so the memory does not disappear completely. If memory loss starts to grow faster than usual, then start to teach them. Again, use photographs and other important reminders and items to keep them in the loop.
Suppose the person’s memory is focused on a particular time in their life. Engage in conversation about recollections to understand that this is their current reality. Avoid explanations that sound like scolding. Instead, correct them if they are saying anything wrong. Make sure you do so politely.
You may even tell them stories to make sure that they remember, and it all stays there with them. Make sure that you spend as much time as you can. Then, instead of making them feel bad, try making them relive those memories again. That way, they would know that they still remember the good times and feel much better. Memory loss can be a challenge, but it is best to be dealt with in calmness. Make sure that they remain glued to reality so they do not fall into the menace.
What Can You Do to Make It Easier for the Patient?
Alzheimer’s can be a very difficult journey to walk into. It can be difficult for you and your loved one suffering from it. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a long, stressful, and emotional journey.
Support them more
To make things easy, you must constantly support them. The more time you spend together with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s, the healthier it is for them. Make sure that you give them the proper medication which is needed and required. You must also make sure that they are getting the treatment that is necessary.
Try to make sure that you communicate with them, and they communicate with you. If your loved one indulges in stories of the past, then listen to them. You should include them in the little things you do so they do not feel excluded from life.
Do activities together
You must engage them and your family members in activities. You should travel with them and make sure you maximize the time you spend with them. You should keep them engaged with your life too.
Make sure that you have as much time with them as possible. If your loved one is feeling depressed or is forgetting too quickly, then do not panic. Instead, stay calm and respond to them with care. You must also make sure that you follow all the instructions which the doctor gives you.
You must be in touch with the health care department to ensure they give you the best guidance you require. The best thing you can do for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s is to support them at every step of the way. Make sure that they can enjoy the little details of life. You must also look after their safety and health.
Ensure the following 3 when caring to care when Alzheimer’s risk factors start showing:
- Mental health treatment
- Constant support
- Doing activities together
As your loved one’s cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually diminish over time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, disheartened, and neglect your health and well-being. You must understand that you and the dementia patient are not alone in this journey. Alzheimer’s is a menace that can start to kill a person.
The Alzheimer’s risk factors can advance to different stages. Your loved one’s needs increase, your responsibilities become more challenging.
At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. There has been increasing study being done on Alzheimer’s. Doctors are hopeful that over the years, they will be able to find a cure. Till then, it is best to make sure you can afford treatments.