Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (or Alzheimer’s disease) is a type of dementia that causes problems in memory, thinking, and behavior.

Symptoms usually develop very slowly, worsen over time, and eventually become so severe that daily activities can no longer be performed.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of:

  • Memory
  • other abilities that interfere with everyday life.

This disorder affects 50-70% of all dementia cases.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease in which symptoms gradually worsen over a certain number of years.
In the early stages, memory loss is minimal, but sufferers lose the ability to have a conversation and respond.


Causes of Alzheimer’s disease

The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet known, although the effect in the brain is clear.
Alzheimer’s disease kills the cells of the brain (neurons).
A brain affected by Alzheimer’s has:

  • much fewer cells,
  • much fewer connections between the surviving neurons.

Alzheimer’s leads to a significant shrinkage of the brain due to the continued necrosis (death) of the cells.

When doctors look at the brain tissue under a microscope, they see two types of abnormalities, which are called the hallmarks of this disease:

  • Plaques. They are spheres formed by a protein called beta-amyloid, which can damage and destroy brain cells in various ways, including disrupting communication between cells.
    Although the cause of brain cell death in Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, the protein beta-amyloid, which is present in some areas of the brain, is the main suspect.
  • Neurofibrillary tangles. The brain cells depend on an internal and external means of transport to transport nutrients and other important materials.
    This system is formed by the tubular microtubules and the tau proteins bound to them.
    In Alzheimer’s disease, neurofibrillary tangles of this protein form inside the brain cells and lead to the breakdown of the transport system.
    This breakdown is crucial to the decline and death of brain cells because the waste products cannot be excreted, in this case beta-amyloid.

Risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease

A greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease is:

  • At age; although the development of this disease does not correspond to the normal aging process;
  • rarely, Alzheimer’s is hereditary (hereditary), that is, one parent suffers from the same disease; this happens only in about 2% of cases.

Genetic heritage

Many people fear that they could inherit Alzheimer’s, and scientists are currently in the process of studying the genetic components of this disease.
We know that there are families in which a genetic component of the disease is present from one generation to the next.
This is often the case in families where the disease occurs early (in young people).
In the majority of cases, the influence of inherited genes on Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly appears to be small.
If a parent or relative has Alzheimer’s disease, the likelihood of developing the disease is only slightly increased compared to families in which there were no cases.
Factors that increase the risk factors (even if this is not clearly proven) are:

  • female
  • high blood pressure,
  • previous craniocerebral trauma,
  • Diabetes; according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, there is a link between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes; Diabetics have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
    It is believed that vascular problems caused by diabetes:

    • can lead to a reduced blood supply to the brain and thus cause brain inflammation;
    • may lead to an increase in the protein level of beta-amyloid.

Environmental risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease

Environmental factors that may contribute to the onset of the disease have not yet been identified.
A few years ago, it was thought that contact with aluminum could cause the disease.
However, these concerns have been largely refuted.

The studies have indicated that the risk of developing the disease is lower in patients treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, excluding aspirin, but ibuprofen, for example.
A study by Gagne JJ and Power MC (Neurology 2010) shows a drop in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in patients who take these drugs regularly.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, taking benzodiazepine for at least 90 days is a risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Copper According to a series of research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), high copper levels may interfere with the elimination of beta-amyloid from the brain.

Kuper is a vital substance found in many foods, such as:

  1. Water
  2. red meat,
  3. Crustaceans
  4. Fruit
  5. Vegetable.

The study was conducted on mice, not humans; they were given water with a higher copper content.
The consequences were:

  • deposition of copper in blood vessels;
  • difficulty in eliminating the protein beta-amyloid,
  • increased beta-amyloid production.

In humans, the studies show a link between copper deficiency and aging or Alzheimer’s disease.
Conclusion: copper-containing dietary supplements should be better avoided.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s (mild) include:

  • difficulties in activities requiring a minimum of organisation,
  • loss of orientation,
  • language problems, such as difficulty remembering names of familiar objects,
  • weight loss (emaciation),
  • Loss of interest for things you’ve always done,
  • bad mood and depression,
  • personality changes and loss of social skills,
  • Forgetting details of recent events.

Symptoms in the intermediate phase
The exacerbation of the disease affects the ability to take care of oneself.
Alzheimer’s disease manifests itself with the following symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • difficulties in everyday activities such as preparing food, choosing the right clothes and difficulty driving,
  • difficulty reading and writing,
  • Memory loss – also long-term memory,
  • hallucinations and aggressive behavior,
  • Loss of judgment and ability to recognize dangers.

People with advanced Alzheimer’s lose the ability to:

  • understand the language,
  • to recognize one’s own family members,
  • perform basic everyday activities such as eating, getting dressed or taking a bath.

Other symptoms that may occur include:

  • Incontinence
  • Swallowing disorders (dysphagia), which can lead to malnutrition and pneumonia because the food goes into the lungs instead of the stomach.

Course or evolution of Alzheimer’s disease

  • First stage, mild dementia:
    it begins with the loss of memory and orientation, this phase lasts from 2 to 4 years.
  • Second stage, moderate dementia:
    This is the longest phase in which symptoms gradually worsen. This phase lasts from 3 to 10 years.
  • Third stage, high-grade dementia:
    this is the final stage of the disease, the patient is disabled. This phase lasts a few years (2-4 years).

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