Generally speaking, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and debilitating neurological disorder. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Moreover, it is the most common cause of dementia in older adults and is characterized by the gradual loss of cognitive function. But what is Alzheimer’s exactly? Let’s have a look.
What is Alzheimer’s - Causes
Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease. But most support that it is a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
Genetic: Some people are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s due to a genetic predisposition. The most well-known genetic risk factor is a variation in the APOE gene. This increases the risk of developing it by up to 12-fold.
Lifestyle: Studies have shown that certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For example, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking may increase this risk. Additionally, a history of head trauma and exposure to certain toxins may also increase the risk. Such toxins include lead, pesticides, and heavy metals
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is typically based on a combination of symptoms, medical history, and a physical examination. A doctor will typically conduct a thorough neurological examination, including tests of memory, attention, and language. They may also order additional tests, such as an MRI or CT scan to rule out other conditions.
Symptoms of this disease can vary widely, but typically begin with memory loss and difficulty with language. Other common symptoms include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Difficulty with planning and problem-solving
- Difficulty with coordination and motor skills
- Changes in mood and behavior
- Loss of interest in activities
As the disease progresses, symptoms will worsen and may eventually lead to total dementia.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and treatment is primarily focused on managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease.
Medications: A number of medications, such as donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine, are FDA-approved. These aim to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They specifically work by increasing the levels of acetylcholine.
Myend & Alzheimer’s
An Alzheimer’s patient may need an end-of-life planner such as myend.com for several reasons.
First, as the disease progresses, patients may experience a decline in their cognitive abilities. This often makes it difficult for them to plan for their end-of-life care on their own. An end-of-life planner like myend.com can help patients to document their preferences and wishes for their care, and to communicate these to their loved ones and healthcare providers.
Second, as the disease progresses, patients may experience difficulty remembering, communicating, and making decisions, making it even more important to have their end-of-life wishes clearly stated in advance. Myend.com allows patients to document their preferences, such as their preferred location of care, their religious or spiritual beliefs, and their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments.
Third, this is a progressive and debilitating disease with no cure, and the patient’s condition may deteriorate rapidly. Having an end-of-life plan in place can give patients and their loved ones peace of mind. That is a result of knowing that their loved ones will respect their wishes and that they will receive the care they want at the end of their life.
Fourth, Myend.com also allows patients to store their important documents. Examples of these include their advance directives, last will, and power of attorney in one secure and easily accessible location. This way their loved ones and healthcare providers will have access to them when needed.
Overall, myend.com can be a valuable resource for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. After all it’s great at helping to plan for and navigate the end-of-life process with confidence and dignity.
Facts & Stats about Alzheimer’s
Here are some additional facts and statistics about Alzheimer’s disease:
- It’d the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
- About 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease in 2021, and this number is projected to increase to 14 million by 2050.
- It’s more common in women than men, with 2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients being women.
- Additionally, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases with age, with the majority of cases occurring in individuals over age 65.
- The total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s is estimated to be $305 billion in 2021.
- Moreover, the cost of care for an individual with Alzheimer’s can range from $18,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on the stage of the disease and the type of care required.
- It’s the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases.
- Early onset of Alzheimer’s, before the age of 65, is a rarer form of the disease, accounting for only 5% of all Alzheimer’s cases.
- Its prevalence is expected to increase significantly in coming years due to the aging population.
- Research is ongoing to better understand the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s and to develop new treatments.
In conclusion, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and debilitating neurological disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults.
The cost of care for an individual with Alzheimer’s can be substantial. As a result, it’s important to plan for the future and have an end-of-life plan in place. Myend.com could be a valuable resource for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Especially when it comes to planning for and navigate the end-of-life process with confidence and dignity.