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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Alzheimer’s Disease

Updated: Jan 23, 2022




Alzheimer’s disease is an age-related neurodegenerative disease. It is the main cause of dementia among people age 65 and older. Currently, some drugs can temporarily slow some symptoms of this disease. There is no treatment that cures this disease. The damage most often starts in the region of the brain that controls memory, but the process begins many years before the first symptom. The loss of neurons spread to other regions of the brain. In the later stage of the disease, the brain shrinks significantly.


Causes:

The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully understood. But at a basic level brain proteins fail to function normally, which disrupts the work of the brain cells ( neurons ) and triggers a series of toxic events. Scientists believe that it is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain. Beta-amyloid is a fragment of a large protein. When these fragments cluster together, they appear to have a toxic effect on neurons and disrupt cell-to-cell communication. These clusters form larger deposits called amyloid plaques, which also include other cellular debris. Tau protein plays a part in a neuron’s internal support and transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials. In Alzheimer’s disease, tau proteins change shape and organize themselves into structures called neurofibrillary tangles. The tangles disrupt the transport system and are toxic to cells.


Risk factors:

Age 75 and older, family history and genetics, Down syndrome, mild cognitive impairment, head trauma, air pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, poor sleep pattern, unhealthy lifestyle and weak heart health, fewer activities in lifelong learning and social engagement, etc.


Prevention:

The risk of this disease may be reduced by a healthy heart, healthy lifestyle choices, and exercising regularly. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and low saturated fats. Proper management of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Avoid smoking and alcohol. Studies have shown participating in social events, reading, dancing, playing games, creating art, playing an instrument, and other activities that require mental and social engagement also help.


Signs of Mild Alzheimer’s:

Memory loss, poor judgment, language problem, loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, repeating questions, wandering and getting lost, losing things or misplacing them, mood and personality changes, increased anxiety, etc.

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