- Can’t find your keys
- Search for casual names and words
- Briefly forget conversation details
- Feel the cold more
- Can’t find a recipe
- Forget to record a check
- Cancel a date with friends
- Make an occasional wrong turn
- Feel occasionally sad
Hello world! Please change me in Site Preferences -> This Category/Section -> Lower Description Bar
What is Alzheimer's Disease?
This is a short explanation of Alzheimer’s disease and gives a simple illustration of its progression in the brain.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE?
Alzheimer’s disease starts very slowly. It is a progressive disease that is fatal with symptoms that get worse over time, generally lasting from 8 to 10 years. Most often, it is diagnosed in people over age 65 but can occur much earlier.
You will hear the terms Amyloid Plaques and Neurofibrillary Tangles, as they are responsible for the deterioration of normal brain function. In short, Alzheimer’s starts with difficulty remembering newly learned information and progresses to problems with confusion about time and place, aggression, mood swings, trouble with language; then more serious memory loss, problems with speaking, walking, swallowing, and breathing.
HOW MUCH FORGETFULNESS IS TOO MUCH?
Mom was initially diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and it is the diagnosis that is usually given when a person is in the very beginning stage of some form of dementia. People can be “slightly more forgetful than they used to be, and more forgetful than they ought to be” says Dr. Ronald Peterson, M.D. Ph.D., the physician who diagnosed Ronald Reagan in 1994.
Alzheimer’s is responsible for the majority of all dementias, but there are other forms of cognitive impairment such as Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and others, and the treatments or management can be different. Memory problems can even occur from a vitamin B12 deficiency or a thyroid problem. It is best to get an evaluation from a doctor if you are having concerns about a loved one’s memory.
Suggestion: HBO produced a documentary called, “The Alzheimer’s Project” together with 15 supplemental short films. Go to http://www.hbo.com/alzheimers/the-supplementary-series.html. Watch the video called Identifying Mild Cognitive Impairment. It is 20 minutes long and very good.
- Routinely place important items in odd places, such as keys in the fridge, wallet in the dishwasher
- Forget names of family members and common objects, or substitute words with inappropriate ones
- Frequently forget entire conversations
- Dress regardless of the weather, wear several skirts on a warm day, or shorts in a snow storm
- Can’t follow recipe directions
- Can no longer manage checkbook, balance figures, solve problems, or think abstractly
- Withdraw from usual interests and activities, sit in front of the TV for hours, sleep far more than usual
- Get lost in familiar places, don’t remember how you got there or how to get home
- Experience rapid mood swings, from tears to rage, for no discernible reason