Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly 6 million Americans and is defined by Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention as “a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of ability to hold a conversation and respond to the environment”. The CDC adds, “The number of people living with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65. This number is expected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.” Although Alzheimer’s disease generally affects the older community, the disease can begin in the thirties. Eat this, not that! Health spoke with Dr Kendal Maxwell, PhD Clinical neuropsychologist who explained the signs of Alzheimer’s disease to look out for and how to tell the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs that you have already had COVID.
Dr Maxwell explains: “Difficulty finding words, such as the name of an object. People with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit these difficulties as the location of the greatest atrophy in the brain is an area closely linked to this language ability.”
According to Dr. Maxwell, “People with Alzheimer’s disease have a loss in the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to the ability to store and retrieve new memories. Therefore, people with Alzheimer’s disease ‘Alzheimer’s have difficulty recalling new memories (eg, anterograde amnesia), while being able to retain old memories until later stages of the disease process.
“This is closely related to memory difficulties, but these people have learning difficulties in which they can be given the same information multiple times but have little or no learning curve over multiple repetitions,” says Dr Maxwell.
Dr Maxwell says: “An example of this is not being able to remember the many types of flavors of ice cream. This again is closely related to the fact that the left temporal region is most affected, causing changes of language.”
People with Alzheimer’s disease have a “reduced perception of these problems,” Dr. Maxwell reminds us. “Other family members may notice their difficulties more than themselves and they may also become somewhat defensive of their mistakes.”
Dr Maxwell says: “The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age over 65, with the average onset of Alzheimer’s disease presenting around age 74. other risk factors include being African American, female, having a history of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury in their lifetime, as well as certain genetic factors such as Apoe4 or a family history of dementia , and cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes and/or hypertension.
RELATED: Signs your gut is ‘unhealthy’, say doctors
Dr Maxwell explains: “Preventing Alzheimer’s disease starts early, for example in your twenties and thirties, by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week at a vigorous pace, adopting diets such as MIND, DASH, or the Mediterranean diet, engaging in good sleep hygiene, trying to get 8 hours of sleep per night when possible, and reducing stress when possible, which may include meditation or psychotherapy regularly if needed. Additionally, maintaining an adequate social circle can also help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that can increase your chances of developing a neurodegenerative disease.”
RELATED: Doing this after 60 is ‘unhealthy’, say doctors
“Alzheimer’s disease is caused by changes in the brain that include neuronal loss, neurofibrillary tangles, and amyloid plaques that accumulate in various areas of the brain with an initial focus on areas related to memory, but to as the disease progresses, neurofibrillary tangles can be found in other regions of the brain,” says Dr. Maxwell.
RELATED: I am a virus expert and if you have this symptom get help
Dr Maxwell says: “As individuals age normally, they may have slight changes in the speed with which they can think and complete tasks, as well as occasional difficulty remembering people’s names or words, and they may become more rigid in their thought process with reduced hearing and vision.Also, they may have difficulty learning new things, but if subjected to repeated trials, they can usually retain information and learn new tasks. The difference between this and Alzheimer’s disease is that memory problems begin to negatively impact their daily functioning. They may no longer be able to drive because they easily get lost or confused. , they may leave the stove on while cooking or other dangerous missteps in their day, and they may start making mistakes with c their finances or their medication because they forget to complete tasks.”