According to the Alzheimer’s Association, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. This is to raise awareness about the disease as well as honor and provide valuable resources for the loved ones who care for people with the cognitive condition.
Development and symptoms
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), reports that Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, in which there is reduction in brain activity that adversely affects memory, behavior and cognitive processes. Some common symptoms include difficulty in speech, memory and perception.
According to the NIH, the stage in between normal age-related forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s is known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is characterized by a difficulty multi-tasking, trouble solving problems and not remembering recent verbal interactions. Even though MCI may pose some challenges for seniors, they are usually still able to successfully partake in day-to-day activities. Many people with MCI are aware of their forgetfulness, and not everyone with it develops Alzheimer’s.
As Alzheimer’s progresses into its early stages, the NIH noted, certain cognitive tasks that previously seemed easy, will require more thought, such as balancing a checkbook, playing cards and learning new directions. Other symptoms include getting lost while driving to familiar locations, a loss of interest in hobbies, lacking social skill as well as losing belongings.
More advanced development of Alzheimer’s will include delusions, depression, agitation, having trouble reading or writing, hallucinations, saying nonsensical sentences, using wrong words and an inability to recognize dangerous situations.
The Alzheimer’s Association noted that diagnosing Alzheimer’s usually requires a combinations of tests. These include analyzing the patient’s medical history, conducting mental status tests, a physical and neurological exam as well as blood and brain imaging tests.
According to the source, forgetfulness in older people does not necessarily indicate Alzheimer’s, and many times it can be attributed to depression, drug interactions, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association noted though that researchers are currently searching for treatments, and there are ways to help improve the cognitive and behavioral problems with people who suffer from the disease.
Also, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of dementia. One of the main omega-3s that is found in the brain DHA, which is present in the membranes around the nerve cells and may serve to protect them. You can get your share of omega-3s by consuming chia seed, flax seeds or an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.
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