Diagnosing Alzheimer's With A Pencil
ALZHEIMER’S PREVALENCE: According to the 2010 report on Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from dementia. Dementia is a form of Alzheimer’s, in which patients have a hard time remembering names, locations, people, and recent events. During the beginning stages of dementia patients encounter depression. Later symptoms of dementia include, but are not limited to, disorientation, confusion, difficulty swallowing and gait. In that same report, women reportedly had dementia more than men and currently, 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that someone develops Alzheimer’s every 70 seconds and by the middle of the century, someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds!
BACKGROUND: The 2010 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures report also explains what Alzheimer’s disease actually is. With Alzheimer’s disease, many cells break down and eventually die. In a healthy adult brain, information flows through connections called synapses. With Alzheimer’s, the transfer of communication through these synapses fails and the end result is a decrease in cells. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include: memory loss that disrupts daily activities, trouble completing every day household tasks, mood and personality changes, extraction from work and social activities, misplacing things, and the inability to retrace steps.
EDUCATION RELATED? Statistics show that people who have little to no education are at higher risks of developing Alzheimer’s than those who have more education. Researchers say the more education one has, the more of a “cognitive reserve” they have that helps ward off dementia and other related illnesses.
TREATMENT: There is no treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five different medications that have been proven to slow the progression of symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients for about 6 months. Additionally, data shows brain health is linked to health of blood vessels. Consequently, proper management of things such as blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and type-2 diabetes, may help delay brain decay.