Alzheimer’s disease is under constant research all over the world with new treatments being created all the time. As ALZ.org states, “The first survivor of Alzheimer’s is out there.” Organizations like this are working toward a cure, but in order to understand new treatments and discoveries, you first have to understand what Alzheimer’s disease actually is. There are many myths and misunderstandings about it. The more you know about it, the easier it will be to identify it. Early identification and care is always going to be important, especially as the understanding of the disease continues to evolve and grow.
Alzheimer’s Disease is Dementia
At its most basic level, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a general term for the loss of memory and cognitive abilities. This one form accounts to anywhere between 60% and 80% of dementia cases in the world. The largest risk factor for getting Alzheimer’s disease is simply aging. The older you get, the more at risk for it you become. That doesn’t mean that it’s a normal part of aging, though. It can hit anyone under the age of 65 and be considered an early onset of the disease.
There is No Cure
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can be used to slow its progression. Those treatments will temporarily slow its worsening and improve a sufferers quality of life. There are men and women who are working toward creating an actual cure all over the world. The goal is to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and prevent it from developing entirely. There’s still a lot of work to be done but there’s a global dedication to eradicating the disease. One day might just come when it no longer exists or affects anyone.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
This disease starts off by affecting the part of the brain that has to do with learning. That means that the first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is losing the ability to learn new information. As the disease progresses, it will lead to mood and behavior changes, disorientation, confusion, and even suspicious about family members and caregivers. It can change a sufferer’s personality and that’s what makes it so insidious. When you become a totally different person due to a sickness, it will severely impact your ability to interact with your family and friends on a normal basis.
Effects on the Brain
There are microscopic changes in the brain that can be found long before the onset of dementia. These changes continue to grow and take place until symptoms become noticeable in patients. Brain cells require oxygen and compounds to run and survive. They also have to remove waste products after these things are used up. There’s no real way to know exactly how it happens, but Alzheimer’s disease prevents this process from taking place. As waste products build up and needed compounds are unable to reach the cells, they begin to die. This is how the dementia sets in.
The fight against Alzheimer’s disease is changing, though. Aducanumab (Aduhelm™) has recently been granted accelerated approval as a treatment from the FDA. That makes it the very first FDA approved therapy. It’s being used to treat the underlying biology of the disease and has the backing of the ALZ. According to them, “It is the first therapy to demonstrate that removing beta-amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, from the brain is reasonably likely to reduce cognitive and functional decline in people living with early Alzheimer’s.” That makes it a beacon in the dark for researchers and people at risk for the disease.
The Drug is Currently Limited
As a drug that’s still under development, this drug is very limited in its accessibility. It’s still going to be a number of years before it gets widespread usage. If it gets to that point, then it might just change the game when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. By changing the very biology of the disease, it might be possible to completely wipe it out in the men and women that have it. Once again, though, this is still in the future. Until then, there are a few things you can do to try and prevent the onset of the disease.
The best way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is to make sure you take care of your body. Tens of millions of Americans have high blood pressure and do nothing about it. Some don’t even know they have it. It’s one of many risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. That means you need to keep it under control if you have it. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s having an impact on your brain health. Your doctor can tell you how to manage it.
It’s also important to manage your blood sugar if you have diabetes. That includes maintaining a healthy weight and keeping yourself physically active. On top of that, it’s a good idea to drink in moderation. Many people with Alzheimer’s disease report binge drinking habits that contribute to the risk factors for the disease. It may not be an easy thing to do, but it will have a major impact on your health. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of not developing this disease. It can be the most important thing you’ve ever done in your life.
Share your Experience in the Comments
If you or someone you know is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, please let us know below in the comments! Talking about it will have a positive impact on your mental health. Even if you don’t know anyone with it, you can still talk about it. Having a supportive community is a major part of taking care of your health. Let us know what you think or share your experiences, it’s up to you! The most important part is that we all talk about it and support each other in our journey!