Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects one’s memory and brain functions. It is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
Although it is not yet a disease that is understood, scientist and researchers believe that the causes of Alzheimer’s can be genetic and related to lifestyle and environmental factors. While no direct cause has been linked to the disease, unhealthy lifestyles can significantly increase a person’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s as well as other diseases. While it’s common in people of advanced aged, it is not a natural part of the aging process. Other risk factors can be past head trauma, lifestyle, and gender. Those with Down Syndrome and Mild Cognitive Impairment also have an increased chance of the disease. (Symptoms & Causes, 2017).
According to Progression of Alzheimer’s (2017), one of the main indications of Alzheimer’s disease is the build of amyloid plaques in the brain and twisted fibers found inside the brain’s nerve cells referred to as tangles. The tangles are a collapse of microtubule fibers made up of proteins that transport important substances between brain cells. Those who develop the disease are found to have loss of brain cells and brain shrinkage leading to memory loss and the inability to perform daily tasks and routines. These changes in the brain can occur long before symptoms of the disease can begin to occur. An absolute diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be made by the presence of these abnormalities in the brain and by the symptoms and the progression of symptoms over time. Some blood and spinal test have been developed, but to date are only slightly more accurate than a diagnosis based on the symptoms alone. (Mace & Rabins 2006)
Alzheimer’s can be identified in three basic stages: early stage,
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