June 23, 2009

Do Memory Problems Necessarily Representing Alzheimer’s Disease?

Many people equate memory slips and Alzheimer’s disease with old age, and yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, as we age, memories tend to fade and we often forget details, but Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease; a condition that continues to steadily worsen until it takes its victim’s life. While people are often quick to jump to conclusions, memory loss does not always mean that a person is a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.

There are lots of people who experience lapses in their memory; some of them being serious, while others are not. Those who suffer from serious changes in their personality, memory, and/or behavior may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or any other number of forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is just one of many forms of this disease. Simply because a person is forgetting things, however, is not reason enough to suspect Alzheimer’s disease. There are far more reasons, rather than just Alzheimer’s.

Dementia describes a condition where a number of symptoms are caused through changes in the brain’s ability to function. Those who are suffering from dementia may do things like forgetting familiar faces or becoming lost in familiar surroundings, being unable to follow directions for even the most simple of tasks, or experience severe disorientation in regards to people, places, and time. Those who have dementia may also neglect their own personal safety, their nutrition, and their own personal hygiene.

Many different things can cause dementia. Some conditions that cause dementia can be reversed, while others cannot. Furthermore, many different medical conditions may cause symptoms that seem like Alzheimer's disease but are not. Some of these medical conditions may be treatable. Reversible conditions can be caused by a high fever, poor nutrition, dehydration, vitamin deficiency, some varieties of alcoholism, allergic reactions to medicines, problems with the thyroid gland, or head trauma.

Lapses in memory can also be caused by such things as stress and anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders, metabolic diseases such as those of the thyroid gland, lung, liver or kidney failure, diabetes, vitamin b12 deficiency, and infections such as meningitis or encephalitis which affect the brain or nerves surrounding it. Drugs (both prescription and over the counter) can also cause notable lapses in memory. ...

Read more: Memory Problems: Do They Necessarily Representing Alzheimer’s Disease?

June 16, 2009

Eight Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

There is no precise line between what distinguishes normal aging tendencies and the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. A good idea is to check with a doctor should the suspected Alzheimer’s patient begin to vary from their basic behaviorisms, regular routines, or if their level of functioning seems to change. What are some regular signs that you can look for; when you suspect Alzheimer’s disease and how do you differentiate them from normal behavior? There are 8 different signs can help determine if a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease.

1. Memory Loss - Problems with the short-term memory and forgetting recently learned information is one of the more common, early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Unhappily, with normal aging, it’s also quite common to forget names or miss appointments on occasion. People with Alzheimer’s disease begin to forget more and more often and are unable to recall the information at a later date. Another good way to determine if this is Alzheimer’s related or simply a sign of aging is that it’s common for people to forget parts of events, whereas the Alzheimer’s patient will commonly forget the event in its entirety.

2. Difficulty Following Routines - Those suffering from dementia frequently finds it difficult to perform tasks should be familiar to them. What might have once been common routine now seems strangely alien. While it’s normal to forget why you’ve entered a room, or what it was that you intended to tell someone, people with dementia often lose track of steps in things that come as second nature, like dressing, preparing a meal, or the act of changing the channels on the television.

3. Problems With Language Or Numbers - People having dementia often find difficulty verbalizing their thoughts, forgetting words, or they substitute other words for what they mean. This often makes their speech and writing difficult to understand. Likewise, numbers also give them trouble, making it hard to figure out what the numbers are used for or finding they are unable to add up even the simplest of sums. A person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s may very well demand “the black thing” when referring to a comb, or “food” when they really want a drink.

4. Disorientation - This is a very common symptom of advanced dementia. People with Alzheimer’s disease have frequently become confused and lose track of time or are easily lost. They may get turned around in their own neighborhood and have no idea where they are. They may forget regular routes, like how to get to the grocery store, even if they have taken the same path for years.

5. Poor Judgment - Alzheimer’s patients tend to suffer from a poor or, at least decreased, sense of judgment. They may not dress warm enough for a cold winter’s day, or they may put on layers and layers of clothing to go take a walk on a hot summer’s day. They easily fall victim to scam artists and telemarketers, and may even try to give large sums of money away to televangelists, charities, or the homeless man on the street, leaving them with no money to live. While all people may, at one time or another, make doubtful or questionable decisions from time to time, the Alzheimer’s patient will commonly fall victim to colossal blunders if they are not carefully watched. ...

Read more: 8 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease