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Pattaya Daily News

16 January 2010 :: 20:01:30 pm 7698

My love one is Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s Disease also known as AD, is the most common form of dementia amongst the older generation. It is a progressive brain disorder that starts of slowly and leads to irreversible loss of memory and intellectual abilities.
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In the early stages, the person affected may have spates of memory loss, difficulty remembering things that happened recently and may not remember names of people close to them.  They may not recognise family members, forget to comb their hair or wash themselves. They also forget whether they’ve eaten or not and eventually forget how to feed themselves, perhaps have problems swallowing. They may forget to dress themselves or perhaps put on three or four layers of clothing. They may have trouble reading or writing and difficulty speaking, often speaking in confusing sentences and forgetting where they put things. They may become aggressive about the slightest thing. They may become doubly incontinent.  Eventually they will begin to wander away from home forgetting where they live and forgetting their own name.  All this and more will put a strain on the families caring for them.

AD usually begins after the age of sixty, although it has been known to strike a person in their mid to late fifties and the risk of having it goes up as you get older.  However, developing AD is not part of the normal aging process.  Having a close blood relative, such as a brother, sister or parent who developed the disease,, increases your risk.Other risk factors can be caused by having long standing high blood pressure and head trauma although this has not yet been well proven.

There are two types of AD, early onset and late onset.  In early onset, symptoms appear before the age of sixty. Early onset is less common than late onset, but tends to progress rapidly.  Early onset can run in families as several genes have been identified.

Later onset, the most common form of the disease develops in people aged 60 and over. Late onset may run in some families though the genes are less clear.

The cause of AD is not known for certain, though it is thought to include genetic and environmental factors.  A diagnosis is made when certain symptoms show themselves, but the only way to know for certain is to examine brain tissue after death.

The build up of aluminum, lead, mercury and other substances in the brain was thought to be a contributory factor in the development of AD but this is no longer the case.

Dementia usually appears as forgetfulness, due to the normal aging process which does not interfere with everyday life and not every one goes on to develop AD.

Medication can be given to control aggressiveness, agitation or dangerous behaviours and are usually given in very low doses. There is no known cure for AD although the process can be slowed with medication.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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Susan Holloway