44 million worldwide are suffering from Alzheimer’s, with 5.5 million alone coming from the United States. This degenerative disease affects mostly older patients, with younger ones suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Read on to find out the causes, symptoms, and treatments that one may be provided with!
Although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s has not been detected yet, it has shown that the buildup of proteins such as tau, which produces tangles within the nerve cells may be the culprit. These tangles disrupt the transport of nutrients to other cells. Another protein, known as amyloid, produces plaque around the dying brain cells which have toxic effects on neurons, affecting cell communication.
The damage starts earlier than the projection of symptoms, which can make it difficult to diagnose a patient. The memory is usually affected first and then spreads to other regions of the brain, subsequently affecting vision and language.
It is also believed that a combination of genetics, environmental and lifestyle factors may contribute to the disease.
The region of the brain that is first affected is the one that controls memory. The ability to remember and retain information progressively worsens in patients and starts way before the disease can be diagnosed. How the disease affects memory depends on the severity of the disease itself. It can range from the inability to recall conversations and appointments, forgetting close friends and family members, to inability to differentiate past and present.