Alzheimer’s disease - The progressive loss of cognitive functions
Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease, is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 70% of cases.
This disease affects memory, reasoning, personality, and behaviour. It is important to know how to recognize it.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
At its origin is the decrease in the number and size of brain cells, making communication between them impossible.
Thus, the cells end up dying with manifest loss of cognitive functions (memory, attention, concentration, language, thinking, among others).
It is a progressive irreversible process which means that once a capacity is lost, it is difficult to be recovered.
Its development is more common after the age of 65.
What are the warning symptoms?
In its initial stage, this disease is very mild, and the first symptom, is usually, a short-term memory deficit.
In the early stage of the disease, old memories are usually kept intact. As the disease progresses, signs and symptoms become more apparent especially:
- Language alteration (forgetting words, difficulty in speaking and writing);
- Difficulty in performing basic daily activities (going shopping, personal hygiene, changing the place of things);
- Difficulty in performing mental calculations;
- Loss of spatial orientation (spatial disorientation in familiar places)
- Changes in personality and behaviour for no apparent reason (mood changes, anxiety or depression).
To date, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. However, there are several treatments that aim to improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, while improving the patient's quality of life.
Learn how to differentiate forgetfulness
Memory loss is one of the main symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. At an early stage, it can be difficult to tell apart age associated memory loss and memory loss caused by the disease.
- Forgets unimportant details;
- Does not remember the current day of the month or day of the week, but remembers it later;
- Can usually follow directions.
Patient with Alzheimer’s disease
- Forgets details or the whole situation in question;
- Loses de ability to perform daily chores;
- Loses track of dates or seasons;
- Gradually becomes unable to follow directions.
- You can always carry a notepad with you, for example, to remember important phone numbers, the shopping list, dates of medical appointments, etc.;
- Time and date: it can be helpful to use digital clocks with large numbers showing the day, date, and time;
- Medication: organize the intake of medicinal products by day and/or time of day using medication boxes;
- Accessories (keys, glasses, wallet, money): always put them in the same place or put them all together in a single place commonly used as passageway.
Is it possible to prevent it?
Regarding prevention, there is no medicinal product to prevent Alzheimer's disease. However, a good nutrition and some nutrient supplementation can be important tools in this process.
- Omega-3: improves cognitive abilities;
- Selenium: important in reducing oxidative stress, acting as a neuroprotector;
- B vitamins: improve cognitive performance;
- Ginkgo biloba: helps to maintain good blood circulation and cognitive function.
These supplements can be found in the form of tablets and capsules (omega 3).
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