is a relatively uncommon set of diseases caused by a gradual gathering of
amyloid in a person’s organs, usually the nervous system, heart, liver and
is an irregular protein structure that is produced within a person’s bone
disease is the single most common type of amyloidosis and is a progressive
disease that alters one’s memory, as well as other significant functions of the
brain. The hippocampus, which is integral in the formation of new memories is affected
the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Research has found that the volume of the
hippocampus is decreased by over twenty percent in the cases of Alzheimer’s
is also the main cause of dementia, a series of impairments that culminate in
the loss of cognitive abilities. In frontotemporal dementia, a patient’s
eating habits are often disrupted, due to the a deterioration in the
to an article published in the Lancet on 30 April 2011, entitled “The
three stages of Alzheimer’s disease”, at the turn of this
century, there were 24 million people living with dementia across the globe,
the majority of whom are believed to have Alzheimer’s disease. This number is
expected to increase to over 80 million in approximately the next 20 years. Symptoms of the 1st Stage of Alzheimer’s Disease- Forgetting the names of familiar people, objects and places.-using the wrong word or name, and not being aware that they have done so.-placing items in unusual locations.-Repetition (repeatedly asking the same question)- Confusion, increased anxiety, loss of self-confidence and fearfulness-poor
judgement skills and difficulty making decisions
Aimless wandering and confusion even in familiar places
mood and personality changes
considerably longer to perform routine everyday tasks
Forgetting or confusing dates and timesThe Second Stage of Alzheimer’s Disease•Aphasia:
difficulties in speaking and also in understanding language.•-agraphia:
difficulties with writing, spelling and grammar.•Sleep
disturbances -In the first stage of the disease, people with Alzheimer’s
may sleep excessively and often awake confused. In the later stages of the
disease, people with Alzheimer’s sleep much less and at irregular intervals•Hallucinations•visuospatial
difficulties such as finding it difficult to negotiate steps and in maneuvering
ability to focus on a series of tasks or eventsThe Later Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease•In
the third stage of the disease, the symptoms experienced by the patient
increase in severity and hence, become increasingly distressing for the person
to cope with on a daily basis.
agitation and disorientation
unintended weight loss,
decline in both short and long term memory.
apathy and frustration
patients at this stage also become very feeble, and often struggle to stand up,
walk and dress themselves.
to the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease
live approximately 8-10 years after the early stages of the disease present
itself. The Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease •Age
is the principle risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
person’s chance of developing dementia increases twofold every ten years after
the age of 60.
30% of patients are over the age of 85.
onset Alzheimer’s can also occur in a person’s 40s and 50s.
research findings published by the Feinberg School of Medicine in Northwestern
University, Chicago, found an accumulation of protein amyloid deposits in the
brains of some deceased young adults, of 20 years old. Such a finding is highly
indicative of the early, or preclinical stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.•Diabetes-
research suggests that Type 2 diabetes patients are at two times greater risk
of developing Alzheimer’s, compared with those without diabetes.
hypertension – damage to the blood vasculature in particular can cause vascular
has shown that tangles and plaques are more likely to trigger the development
of Alzheimer’s, if damage to the brain’s blood vasculature has also occurred.
and lack of exercise.
•Smoking- Smokers have a 40% greater risk of
developing Alzheimer’s disease, when compared with non-smokers and ex-smokers.A
study carried out by Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago found that
a daily serving of green leafy vegetables prevents cognitive decline with age
and facilitates memory preservation. Vegetables such as kale and spinach
are particularly beneficial to brain function due to their high Vitamin K
study carried out by the University of Manchester, UK,
found that eating purple coloured
fruits such as blueberries, may decrease the chance of developing Alzheimer’s
Disease. This is thought to be due to the fact that contains chelators
which bind detrimental iron compounds within the body.•A
correlation has also been established between depression and dementia, although
the research currently is quite conflicting about whether depression is a risk
factor for dementia, or rather a symptom of the early stages of this
especially during the first and second stages of Alzheimer’s disease may feel
isolated and anxious. They often withdraw socially, find it difficult to
maintain focus and their thought process and rationalization skills may be
who have sustained either a severe head injury, or repeated head injuries are
also at greater risk of developing dementia later on in life, particularly if
the trauma occurs on more than one occasion, or if loss of consciousness
investigations suggest this may be due to the deposits, which accumulate in the
brain as a result of a head injury, perhaps playing a role in causing