Understand The Daunting Effects Of Alzheimer's Disease

elder lost memory from alzheimer disease

Alzheimer's disease is an enigmatic condition that affects millions globally by creating complexities in the human brain. As we delve deeper into its intricacies, we uncover its devastating impact and the hope and resilience of those affected. Its time to get ahead of the curve and learn about this dangerous condition.

What Is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is not merely about forgetting where one placed their keys or momentarily struggling to recall a name. It's a relentless adversary that slowly chips away at memories, cognitive abilities, and identity. Alzheimer's is the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, namely amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which disrupt communication between nerve cells and trigger widespread neuronal damage.

What Does Alzheimers Disease Look Like?

The progression of Alzheimer's disease is as varied as the individuals it affects. In the early stages, subtle signs may be brushed off as normal age-related forgetfulness. However, as the disease advances, its grip tightens, robbing individuals of their independence, cognitive function, and, ultimately, their sense of self. Loved ones witness the gradual erosion of memories, personality changes, and the heart-wrenching struggle to be in a world that grows increasingly unfamiliar.

Symptoms of Alzheimers Disease

Symptoms of Alzheimer

Memory Loss

Individuals may need to remember recently learned information, such as appointments or conversations, as well as significant events from the past. Simple tasks, like remembering names or finding familiar objects, become increasingly challenging as the disease progresses.

Difficulty with Problem-Solving

Individuals may need help with tasks that require planning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Calculations or following step-by-step instructions can become arduous, leading to frustration and confusion.

Confusion and Disorientation

Alzheimer's often causes individuals to become disoriented in familiar surroundings, leading to confusion about time, place, and the people around them. They may lose track of dates, seasons, and even their own identity, contributing to feelings of anxiety and agitation.

Language Impairment

As the disease progresses, individuals may struggle to find the right words, form coherent sentences, or understand spoken or written language. Conversations become fragmented, and communication becomes increasingly challenging for the individual and their caregivers.

Agitation and Aggression

Some individuals with Alzheimer's may exhibit aggressive or agitated behavior, especially when they feel threatened, overwhelmed, or unable to communicate their needs effectively. Understanding and managing these behaviors requires patience, empathy, and a supportive environment.

Self-Care Tasks

Simple tasks like bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting become increasingly challenging as cognitive function declines. Individuals may require assistance and supervision to maintain personal hygiene and safety.

Household Chores

Cooking, cleaning, managing finances, and other household chores become overwhelming as cognitive abilities deteriorate. Individuals may need help to follow recipes, handle kitchen appliances safely, or remember to pay bills on time. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, leading to daytime drowsiness, fatigue, and irritability.


Sundowning refers to increased agitation, confusion, and restlessness that often occur late afternoon or evening. These symptoms may exacerbate during the evening, disrupting sleep patterns and contributing to caregiver stress.

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Stages of Alzheimers Disease

  1. Preclinical Stage: A silent precursor marked by biological changes in the brain.
  2. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): the emergence of mild symptoms noticeable to the individual and close family.
  3. Mild Alzheimers Disease: Increased memory loss and cognitive decline, though individuals may still maintain some independence.
  4. Moderate Alzheimers Disease: Symptoms worsen, necessitating assistance with daily tasks and activities.
  5. Severe Alzheimers Disease: The final stage is characterized by profound cognitive decline, loss of communication, and complete dependence on caregivers.

Causes of Alzheimers Disease

Causes of Alzheimer

Genetic predisposition

Specific genes, such as the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, increase susceptibility to the disease. Individuals with a family history of Alzheimer's are also at higher risk, highlighting the hereditary component of the disease.

Age & Lifestyle

Age is a significant risk factor, with the incidence of Alzheimer's increasing exponentially after the age of 65. Environmental factors such as cardiovascular health, education level, and lifestyle choices influence disease risk.

Chronic conditions

Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's, underscoring the intricate relationship between overall health and brain function.

Oxidative stress

Inflammation in the brain, triggered by factors such as chronic infections or autoimmune disorders, may exacerbate neuronal damage and contribute to disease progression. Oxidative stress, resulting from an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, can also accelerate the degenerative processes seen in Alzheimer's.

The gut-brain axis

A bidirectional communication system between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system is increasingly recognized as a potential contributor to Alzheimer's disease. Disruptions in gut microbiota composition and integrity may influence neuroinflammation.

Diagnosis of Alzheimers Disease

Physical examination and cognitive assessments

Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) helps clinicians evaluate memory, attention, language, and other cognitive functions. 

Imaging studies

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans provide detailed images of the brain, allowing for the detection of structural changes and the presence of amyloid plaques and tau tangles.

Biomarker tests

These tests measure biological markers, such as amyloid beta and tau protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid, or through imaging techniques like PET scans, providing insights into the disease's underlying pathology.

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Treatments for Alzheimers Disease

Cholinesterase Inhibitors

Drugs such as donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine work by increasing levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning. These medications may help improve cognitive function and delay symptom progression, particularly in the early to moderate stages of Alzheimer's.


Memantine is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist that regulates glutamate activity in the brain. It is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease and may help improve cognitive function and manage behavioral symptoms.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists help individuals with Alzheimer's disease maintain independence and functional abilities by teaching adaptive strategies, modifying the environment, and providing assistive devices.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapists assist individuals with Alzheimer's in maintaining communication skills and address language, speech, and swallowing difficulties.

Cognitive Stimulation Programs

These involve engaging in activities and exercises designed to stimulate cognitive function, enhance memory, and improve overall well-being.

Caregiver Support Services

Caregivers play a crucial role in supporting individuals with Alzheimer's disease, but caregiving can be physically, emotionally, and financially demanding. Support services, such as respite care, support groups, and counseling, help caregivers cope with the challenges of caregiving and maintain their health and well-being.

Also Read: Debunking 5 Medical Myths About Dementia: Things To Know


Alzheimer's disease challenges not only those directly affected but also the broader community tasked with providing care and support. Yet, amidst the darkness, there is a collective commitment to unraveling the mysteries of Alzheimer's, advancing treatments, and, ultimately, finding a cure. Lets remain steadfast in confronting Alzheimer's with compassion, innovation, and unwavering determination.


What is the life expectancy of a person with Alzheimer's?

While life expectancy varies, individuals typically survive for four to eight years after diagnosis, though some may live for decades with the disease.

What is the average age of Alzheimer's patients?

Most individuals are diagnosed with Alzheimer's after the age of 65, though early-onset Alzheimer's can occur in individuals as young as their 40s or 50s.

How does Alzheimer's lead to death?

Alzheimer's disease compromises vital bodily functions, leaving individuals susceptible to complications such as infections, aspiration pneumonia, and organ failure, which ultimately contribute to mortality.

How long do the stages of Alzheimer's last?

The duration of each stage of Alzheimer's varies, ranging from several months to several years, depending on individual factors such as disease progression and overall health.

What are the final stages of Alzheimer's before death?

In the final stages of Alzheimer's, individuals experience profound cognitive decline, loss of mobility, and a decline in physical health, often requiring round-the-clock care and support.

At what stage do Alzheimer's patients sleep a lot?

Increased sleep is expected in the later stages of Alzheimer's as the disease progresses and cognitive function declines, leading to fatigue and decreased activity levels.

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