Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'
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The symptoms of Alzheimer’s “may initially be put down to old age”, warned the NHS. An early diagnosis is helpful in that it allows people more time to organise their finances, healthcare and wishes for later life. One example of a “memory lapse” is when you forget about a recent conversation or event. Another example is when you misplace items in particularly strange places, such as putting the TV remote in the bathroom.
If any household items end up in bizarre spots across the house, it’s definitely a sign to pay attention to.
One memory issue might materialise when the person affected forgets the name of objects or places.
This could be a sign that abnormal proteins in the brain are interfering with memory recall.
Abnormal brain proteins
Amyloid proteins form into plaques around the brain cells; tau proteins form tangles within brain cells.
“Scientists now know that [plaques and tangles develop] many years before symptoms appear,” said the NHS.
Alzheimer’s disease also causes a decrease in the number of neurotransmitters that send signals between brain cells.
One particular neurotransmitter, called acetylcholine, is dramatically decreased in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
Over time, different areas of the brain shrink, and the first area usually affected is responsible for memories.
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As well as forgetting the names of places and objects, a person with Alzheimer’s is likely to experience difficulty “thinking of the right word”.
Another telling sign of Alzheimer’s is when a question is repeatedly asked.
Alzheimer’s disease can also lead to “poor judgement” and cause difficulty with making decisions.
One other “memory lapse” is when a person becomes less flexible and more hesitant to try new things.
Seven “memory lapses”
- Forget about recent conversations or events
- Misplace items
- Forget the names of places and objects
- Have trouble thinking of the right word
- Ask questions repetitively
- Show poor judgement or find it harder to make decisions
- Become less flexible and more hesitant to try new things
“There are often signs of mood changes, such as increasing anxiety or agitation, or periods of confusion,” added the NHS.
How can I prevent Alzheimer’s?
“A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk,” the NHS stated.
This involves taking steps to protect your cardiovascular health, such as “keeping alcohol to a minimum”.
It’s also healthier to be a non-smoker, to eat a balanced diet – full of fruit and vegetables – and to exercise for at least 150 minutes each week.
Loneliness or social isolation is another risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s.
This is why it’s beneficial to spend time with friends and loved ones, and to engage in social activities.
It’ll also help to keep the brain stimulated by:
- Learning foreign languages
- Playing musical instruments
- Volunteering in your local community
- Taking part in group sports, such as bowling
- Trying new activities or hobbies
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