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Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disease of the brain leading to the irreversible loss of neurons and the loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning, which become severe enough to impede social or occupational functioning. Alzheimer's disease is also known as simply Alzheimer's, and Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type (SDAT) .

During the course of the disease plaques and tangles develop within the structure of the brain. This causes brain cells to die. Patients with Alzheimer's also have a deficiency in the levels of some vital brain chemicals which are involved with the transmission of messages in the brain - neurotransmitters. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. The disease gets worse as it develops - it is a progressive disease.

Causes
The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is increased age. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease doubles every 5.5 years from 65 to 85 years of age.

Alzheimer's disease occurs more often among people who suffered significant traumatic head injuries earlier in life,

Symptoms
The onset of Alzheimer's disease is usually gradual, and it is slowly progressive. Problems of memory, particularly for recent events (short-term memory) are common early in the course of Alzheimer's disease

As the disease progresses, problems in abstract thinking and in other intellectual functions develop. The person may begin to have trouble with figures when working on bills, with understanding what is being read, or with organizing the day's work. Further disturbances in behavior and appearance may also be seen at this point, such as agitation, irritability, quarrelsomeness, and a diminishing ability to dress appropriately

Ten warning signs of Alzheimer's disease
The Alzheimer's Association has developed the following list of warning signs that include common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Individuals who exhibit several of these symptoms should see a physician for a complete evaluation.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgment
  • Problems with abstract thinking
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of initiative
Diagnosis
Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed when:
  • A person has sufficient cognitive decline to meet criteria for dementia
  • The clinical course is consistent with that of Alzheimer's disease
  • No other brain diseases or other processes are better explanations for the dementia

Treatment

The management of Alzheimer's disease consists of medication based and non-medication based treatments. The reaction of a patient with Alzheimer's disease to the illness and his or her capacity to cope with it also vary, and may depend on such factors as lifelong personality patterns and the nature and severity of stress in the immediate environment. Depression, severe uneasiness, paranoia, or delusions may accompany or result from the disease, but these conditions can often be improved by appropriate homeopathic medications


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