Alzheimers disease was originally named after Dr. Aloysius Alois Alzheimer, who was a German doctor that specialized in psychiatry and neuropathology. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also known simply as Alzheimer’s, is a neurodegenerative disease that, in its most common form, is found in people over age 65. Approximately 24 million people worldwide have dementia of which the majority (~60%) is due to Alzheimer’s The main risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is increased age. The rates of the disease increase markedly with advancing age, with 25 percent of people over 85 suffering from Alzheimer’s or other severe dementia. Many scientists believe that AD results from an increase in the production or accumulation of a specific protein (beta-amyloid protein) that leads to nerve cell death. Loss of nerve cells in strategic brain areas, in turn, causes deficits in the neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s chemical messengers. Two typesThe two types of Alzheimers disease are: * Sporadic Alzheimers disease – this type accounts for more than 90 per cent of cases. Adult men and women of all ages can be affected, although most cases occur in people over the age of 65 years. It can take up to 20 years for the disease to develop. * Familial Alzheimers disease – this rare type is caused by a genetic mutation. The age of onset is earlier than for sporadic Alzheimers disease, with symptoms appearing when the person is aged in their 40s or 50s.What causes it?The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t known, although some risk factors are known. The risk of developing the disease increases with age, for example.There’s a higher risk of Alzheimer’s if a family member has the disease. However, inherited genetic factors are responsible in only a small number of families.When the disease is inherited, it tends to lead to early onset of Alzheimer’s, usually between the ages of 35 and 60. One of several different genes may be at fault, such as the presenilin-1 gene on chromosome 14 or the amyloid precursor protein gene on chromosomeWhat Are the Symptoms of AD?AD begins slowly. At first, the only symptom may be mild forgetfulness, which can be confused with age-related memory change. Most people with mild forgetfulness do not have AD. In the early stage of AD, people may have trouble remembering recent events, activities, or the names of familiar people or things. They may not be able to solve simple math problems. Such difficulties may be a bother, but usually they are not serious enough to cause alarm.However, as the disease goes on, symptoms are more easily noticed and become serious enough to cause people with AD or their family members to seek medical help. The disease’s course varies from person to person. Eight years is the average length of time from diagnosis of Alzheimer’s to death. Survival begins to decline three years after diagnosis, but some people live more than a decade with the disease.PreventionAlthough there is no proven way to prevent AD, there are some practices that may be worth incorporating into your daily routine, particularly if you have a family history of dementia. Talk to your doctor about any of these approaches, especially those that involve taking a medication or supplement. * Consume a low-fat diet. * Eat cold-water fish (like tuna, salmon, and mackerel) rich in omega-3 fatty acids, at least 2 to 3 times per week. * Reduce your intake of linoleic acid found in margarine, butter, and dairy products.
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