Alzheimer's disease or simply Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. This degenerative disease, so far incurable and terminal, was first described in 1906 by the German neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer, who inherited the name. This disease generally affects people over 65 years, although its diagnosis is also possible in people younger.
Each patient suffers from Alzheimer's disease in a unique way, but there are points in common, and the evolution of the disease is divided into four phases:
The first symptoms are often falsely associated with aging or stress. Some neuropsychological tests can reveal many cognitive disabilities to eight years before being able to diagnose Alzheimer's in full. The primary symptom most notable is the loss of short-term memory (difficulty in remembering recently learned facts), a patient loses the ability to give attention to something, you lose flexibility in thinking and abstract thought, can start losing their memory semantics. In this phase can still be seen apathy as a symptom rather common.
Second phase (mild dementia)
Some patients have difficulties in language, with the main functions, perception (agnosia), or execution of movements (apraxia), more striking than the loss of memory.
Language problems usually involve the reduction of vocabulary and greater difficulty in speech, leading to a general impoverishment of language. The patient may seem sloppy to make some simple motor tasks (writing, dressing, etc.) due to coordination problems.
Third phase The progressive degeneration hinders independence. The difficulty in speech becomes evident due to the inability to remember vocabulary. Progressively, the patient will lose the ability to read and write and no longer able to do the simplest daily tasks. During this phase, memory problems worsen and the patient may fail to recognize their relatives and acquaintances.
The long-term memory will be lost and behavioural changes will be worse. The most common manifestations are apathy, irritability and emotional instability, even to cry, unexpected attacks of aggression.
Fourth stage (terminal)
During the last phase the patient is completely dependent on people taking care of him. The language is now reduced to simple phrases or even single words, eventually, eventually, loss of speech.
However, aggression can still be present, and extreme apathy and exhaustion results are quite common. The patient will end up unable to perform the simplest tasks without help. His muscle mass and mobility degenerate to the point that the patient has to lie in one bed; lose the ability to eat alone.
Prevention and treatment
All studies of measures to prevent or delay the effects of Alzheimer's are often fruitless. However, some studies appoint that the inclusion of fruit and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil, fish, and red wine may reduce Alzheimer's risk. Some vitamins such as B12, B3, C and B9 were linked in studies to lower risk of Alzheimer's.
Intellectual activities like reading, playing board games (chess, checkers, etc.), completing crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments, or regular socialization can also delay the onset or the severity of Alzheimer's.
The treatment aims to comfort the patient as possible and delaying disease progression. Some drugs are useful in disease onset, and the dose should be personalized.