A widespread plague associated with old age is Alzheimer’s. Though sufferers include victims from all age brackets, the people crossing the sixties are more vulnerable. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia wherein the body loses the ability to think and recall as the brain cells deteriorate as age progresses. At present, there is no medical cure to eradicate or revert the disease’s effects. Moreover, since the disorder progresses with age, it is hard to control it. However, medical studies and research aim to improve people’s lives and possibly even postpone the imminent. However, this calls for people to recognize the symptoms from their onset and have an earlier diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s primarily affects the neurons or the brain cells. Hence, we can observe the starting signs from the causal memory loss. It can be as simple as misplacing objects and forgetting the names of acquaintances to grave matters like having difficulty with directions in your locality. They may begin to forget things easily or find things at the tip of their tongue, yet not know it. This leads them to question and repeat the statements without being aware.
Difficulty In Performing Simple Tasks
Alzheimer slowly restricts the capability to the physical task. As the nerve cells degenerate, you’ll have difficulty going about things regularly. The patients may also suffer from muscular cramps and other motor problems. Simple tasks like getting out of bed, getting a glass of water becomes difficult. The reduced body movement restricts the patients to bed, giving them bedsores over time. Another aspect of this can be related to loss of memory. Fading memory deludes people into thinking they have already performed the task or may forget them. This will make it difficult for them to manage their homes and themselves alone.
With things not going on as before, the victims feel vulnerable. They are rendered incapable of doing things as before. Not to forget the inability to recall incidents. This results in a rapid change in their emotional behavior. A period where they cease to control the emotional outburst. The mood swings are random or may follow a regular pattern. The changes can be extremes of the behavioral spectrum, from anger to tears. They also have increased irritability, with small things triggering them.
Progression Of Symptoms In Different Stages
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. Therefore, the symptoms worsen as the disease progresses over the years. The symptoms may be elevated versions of the initial for most of them. While for others, it may lead to secondary symptoms that may arise due to the prolonged effect of the primary symptoms. For example, memory loss may initially arise over trivial matters like forgetting the appointments or names. It later progresses to difficulty recognizing people, even the closest family members. More so, they might believe you to be someone else, or even sadder, a past version of you. As they begin to face difficulties performing regular mundane tasks, it takes a toll on mental and physical well-being. Random mood swings, random bursts of anger, anxiety, and paranoia are some behavioral symptoms that can occur in most patients. Another symptom is aimless wandering, referred to as sundowning in medical terms. As the brain’s functioning decreases, the patients lose control over various physical functions like bladder and bowel control, difficulty in swallowing, and seizures. These lead to other severe complications like pneumonia and bedsores. This eventually leads to death. This further stresses the fact of earlier diagnosis. Though this is not to provide false hope of recovery, timely intervention helps delay the progression and entitles the patient to a better life.
When To Look For The Symptoms?
Reading through the symptoms, most people are often alarmed as these are everyday actions that most of us stumble through. True, we often get blank while saying something, forget the day, etc. Fear not; these don’t necessarily mean you have started with the onset of the diseases. However, if you are in the vulnerable age bracket (i.e., 60+), there might be no harm in getting yourself checked once under a professional guide. This by no means is belittling the possibility that middle-aged or even young people can have Alzheimer’s. Though the percentage is significantly less, there are still cases. Hence, it is only appropriate to get a consultation when you feel the symptoms are overpowering.
There are certain lifestyle activities suggested to slow down the progression of the disease. However, we cannot deny the inevitable fate once the person is affected by it. A saying says- Alzheimer’s takes a toll on near ones more than the patients. As they watch their loved ones say goodbye to the memories they hold dear. There is not much to do other than take care of them. Hence, keep an eye out for the above symptoms and seek immediate consultation.