Alzheimer’s disease: When forgetting becomes a serious problem

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Alzheimer’s disease is a much discussed about condition due to the fact that the cause is not known exactly and the treatment is still missing. Until a few years ago, people who developed trouble with their memory and their behavior were considered to have a psychic condition or just an advanced sclerosis of the brain that occurs in most of the elder persons. Nobody suspected Alzheimer’s as this disease was not known enough by doctors and not at all by family members.

Lately more and more cases of Alzheimer’s disease are being registered by hospitals and family doctors and this fact is not due to an extension of the disease but due to the better information of the public regarding this affection.

A cure for this condition is not available right now, but at least the treatment can slow down the evolution of the disease. This is why recognizing Alzheimer’s disease from its inner stages can make a difference. Here are a few signs you should look for when suspecting Alzheimer’s disease in an elder person:

Usually Alzheimer’s disease starts with small behavioral changes: the person suffering of this affection might become socially isolated, might not enjoy the hobbies he/she used to, might seem like a different person. Most of the family members would describe the behavior of their elder relative as “bizarre”.

In a more advanced stage, the elder person might not manage recognizing friends or even close relative, like the wife or the husband. They might develop delirious ideas about the people surrounding them, or about certain situations that have been worrying them for a while. These moments of forgetting are not permanent in the beginning of the illness. People suffering of Alzheimer’s have good days, when everything is normal, but in any moment their “crisis” can reappear. This is what scientists can’t really explain: “how come the patient is well and in after one hour he becomes a whole different person?”

Some elder people might have problems with taking a decision, or might not be able to express itself right (he/she can’t find the right words). Others don’t recognize their home, or have no clue about what time or day it is. Some might not remember how a certain meal is cooked, even though they used to cook it one a week. Symptoms can vary a lot, and this is why it is so difficult to diagnose in the early stages this affection.

The lack of confidence in other people is also a sign. Sometimes people suffering of Alzheimer’s disease might believe that their family members are lying or cheating to them. Even the feeling of insecurity is possible.

The treatment available nowadays can slow down or even stop the progression of the disease, preventing the patients from reaching a stage where they will not even be able to complete their basic needs, like eating, getting dresses, using the toilet or walking. This is why going to the doctor with your elder relative as soon as you notice something is different can help a lot.

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