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Alzheimer's Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Stages, Treatment

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by changes in the brain that impact memory, cognitive skills, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. It can be a mentally and emotionally overwhelming disease for both patients and their families, as it influences an individual's ability to lead a healthy, active, and independent life. However, there are many ways to support individuals with Alzheimer's disease. They just require patience, care, and an understanding of their needs.

Causes

Significant research has been done to explore the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Some causes include:

  1. Head trauma – Some people can heal quite quickly from any type of head trauma, but it can still lead to chronic inflammation and permanently-damaged brain cells, leading to the eventual development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

  2. Mild cognitive impairment – Mild cognitive impairment is common as an individual ages. In some cases, this may develop into Alzheimer's disease over time.

  3. Family history – Sometimes an individual’s genetics (passed down from parents) can contribute to the development of  Alzheimer’s disease. It could potentially be inherited from a single gene.

Symptoms

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, and therefore it is characterized by signs and symptoms of dementia. However, it is differentiated from other forms by the areas of the brain affected, the risk factors, and treatments. 

The 10 warning signs of dementia

  1. Memory loss

  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks

  3. Problems with language

  4. Disorientation with time and place

  5.  Impaired judgement

  6. Problems with abstract thinking

  7. Changes in mood and behaviour

  8. Misplacing things

  9. Loss of initiative

  10. Change in personality

Are you caring for someone who has been exhibiting a few of these signs?

Please reach out to our team who can help you understand and care for your loved ones.

Stages

Alzheimer’s disease consists of four fluid stages:

  • Stage 1: Early stage – Mild Impairment

  • Stage 2: Middle stage – Decline in cognitive and functional abilities

  • Stage 3: Late stage – Inability to communicate or verbally connect and take care of themselves

  • Stage 4: End of life – Increased mental and physical deterioration

Treatment

Did you know that leading a healthy lifestyle can bring down your risk of developing Alzheimer’s? Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit are essential for healthy ageing, which Optima Living can support you through our Brain Health Program

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but researchers (like Optima Living’s partner Dr. Zahra Moussavi) are searching for one every day. There are, however, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options. Understanding these options can help caregivers care for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. This will allow both the individual and their caregiver to cope with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and help both live happy and healthy lives. 

Here are some helpful starting tips to support you in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Monitor their discomfort

  • Avoid being confrontational

  • Positively redirect their attention

  • Allow substantial rest

  • Create a calm environment

  • Don’t take their changes in mood, responses to situations, or comments personally

Learning about Alzheimer’s disease is essential in learning how to live with or help treat it. At Optima Living, we work to support everyone in feeling safe and comfortable, so know you are never alone. Every question is worth asking. Please reach out to us if you would like to discuss your or your loved ones, needs, health, and comfort.

Resources:

Warning signs of dementia

First steps after a diagnosis

Living well with dementia

What to expect as the person’s dementia progresses (for caregiver)

Understanding symptoms (for caregiver)

Providing day to day care (for caregiver)

See our youtube channel for videos: 

Coping with Alzheimer’s with Dr. Moussavi

Living with Dementia with Dr. Wagg