Alzheimers disease symptoms (Alzheimer’s disease) are the result of a gradual and continual loss and degeneration of brain tissue resulting in an increasing loss of mental function.
The common, characteristic Alzheimer’s symptoms are general losses of mental capacity including changes to speech, memory, and behavior.
In the Alzheimer’s diseased brain, nerve cells and structure are lost during the formation of protein plaques and tangles of neurofibrillary material within nerve cells.
It is the most common form of dementia in the elderly and it is very rare in individuals younger than 60 years of age.
The causes and progression of Alzheimer’s disease are still being extensively researched. Advancements have been made in identifying genetic factors which help explain why some individuals are more likely to develop the disease.
The dementia from Alzheimer’s disease typically begins slowly and gradually, although one particularly obvious event may lead a person, or family or friends, to suspect the presence of the disease. From diagnosis, the time of survival is typically 3-6 years.
Early Alzheimers disease symptoms:
- inability to recall relatively recent events
- personality changes
- judgment impairments
- change in speech patterns
- regression of vocabulary
- incorrect use of words
- inability to remember words
- odd behaviors
- odd emotional changes
- getting lost during even very simple trips, routes
Later stages of Alzheimer’s disease progress to increasingly devastating symptoms. Individuals often experience paranoia and hallucinations and may become aggressive, irritable, and hostile.
Eventually, memory is lost entirely. Individuals are no longer able to speak, walk, or care for themselves and must have help for feeding, dressing, bathing, etc.
Diagnosis is typically through physical examination and observation of characteristic symptoms in an elderly individual. There is currently no test to confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in a living individual. Only with a biopsy of brain tissue following death can a confirmed diagnosis be made.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment is typically aimed at relieving cognitive Alzheimer’s symptoms with drugs intended to increase the brain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. This is not curative. The Alzheimer’s disease will still progress.