Alzheimer's disease

WHAT IS IT

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease, first discovered in 1907 by German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, and today it is one of the biggest problems facing the humanity because of its fatal influence on everyone, inevitability, and the impossibility of treating a significant rate.

Why is it dangerous? Only three inescapable, deadly and important reasons.

I. The stages of the disease.

Doctors underline three stages of the disease:

Stage 1

 

Forgetfulness.

Stage 2

The complete loss of

personality and vitality.

Stage 3

 

Death.

II. The inability to timely diagnose and response to the disease.

Scientists have made significant progress in the diagnosis of the disease, but the main danger is the inability to detect it in time. Hence, diagnosis in advanced stage of disease greatly reduces the effectiveness of treatment. There are several reasons:

1. Symptoms of the early stage of Alzheimer's are very alike common manifestations of fatigue, aging and stress.

Minor violation of attention, forgetfulness, confusion, mood’s swings - common symptoms for many natural processes and that’s the reason we do not take them into consideration.

2. The rapid course of the disease.

Not attaching enough importance at the early stage, the surrounding people, as well as the patient, are vulnerable to the second stage of the disease, which can occur with lightning speed: significant memory loss, violation of motor function, inability to take care of themselves, unmotivated anger, speech disorders, worsening of ability to control his own body, apathy.

If at the early stages the patient still can do the necessary types of activity, then as the disease progresses, the patient becomes more and more helpless and eventually completely loses the ability to control the physiological functions of the body, loses the ability to perceive the world around us, to orient himself in space and in time, recognize loved ones, talk, eat, move independently.

3. Incurability.

This disease gained the status of "incurable" due to a great extent of the previous factors and the helplessness of medicine at the moment. Drugs available at the moment, can only slow down the manifestation of symptoms, but still this achievement is important because, at least, adds a few years of real life, not existence.

The causes of this disease have not yet been established.

III. The rapid course of the disease and its progressive development.

Alzheimer's disease is recognized as the most progressive in the world. In just 15 years, the time of disease progression significantly reduced, the age of patients also reduced, and the number of patients dramatically increased.

Disease of old people got younger in 2015 to 28 years. Taking into the consideration the inability to diagnose it in time, the transition from mild forgetfulness to a complete incapacity in only 8 years and the inevitable fatal outcome together draw attention to such a rapid disease.

In 2006, scientists predicted the increase of the disease in 2050 in 4-6 times. Many people were skeptical of such forecasts, however, no one could have predicted that the forecast will start to come true, and the first time it will be optimistic compared to reality. Assuming the worst, in the near future the situation will be disappointing. Let’s take the most “young” case in 2015 - 28 years, add the duration of illness - 8 years, we will get 36 years - the age at which death occurs.

  2000 2015
Age of the disease:
-minimum
59 years
28 years
- average
65 years
45 years
Time of the disease course
10-15 years
8-10 years
The quantity of patients
23 mln.
45 mln.

Positron emission tomography allows you to see the metabolic changes at Alzheimer’s disease (on the left).

Dark areas indicate the absence of brain activity.

Photo: AGE / EAST NEWS

During last 10 years Alzheimer’s disease is recognized as the main health and social problem of the modern society stipulated by the following:

1. Rejuvenation of the disease.

In 1970 the age of the patients was more than 65 years, but today it reached the level of 45 years.

In 2015 there were registered two incidents of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 26 and 38 years. Concerning these facts the prognosis of scientists that in 2030 the age of the disease will be 25 years could become true as the quantity of people with Alzheimer’s disease is rising.

In 2003 there were registered about 23 mln. of incidents, in 2015 he quantity raised up to 45 mln. In 2030 the quantity is expected to reach 65,7 mln.

2. Negative symptoms:

- identity loss

- delirium

- hallucinations

- memory loss and etc.

3. Rapid course of the disease.

If in 2000 since the diagnosis till the death it took 10-15 years, today it decreased up to 8-10 years.

According to the prognosis till 2030 it will decrease up to 5 years.

The worst in the situation is the fact that still there are no satisfactory results of the clinical research in the field of Alzheimer’s cure and prevention. Should be mentioned that there are some specific aspects of Alzheimer’s disease researches but each cure should be a complex one.

The results of the many researches confirm that eating healthy, physical and intellectual activity can not only prevent but slow the progress of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S

I. ALZHEIMER’S IS MORE COMPLEX THEN JUST A MEMORY LOSS

Memory loss is one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s but still it is not the only one. The memory loss at Alzheimer’s is rather specific – the patients not just lose their memory, their brain is being destructed. This causes not just forgetfulness but inability to control their body, etc.

II. IT IS NOT THE END

Alzheimer’s disease is rather dangerous. But it is not the reason for panic. Be attentive to first symptoms and try to prevent it. But if it is a bit late to prevent try to slow down increasing brain activity, helping your body to become healthy. Right now it is impossible to cure this disease, but there are a lot ways to prevent and slow down it. Still APCO is working hard on the cure.

III. RISK FACTORS

1. Advancing age was the first risk factor for this disease till 2015.

In 2015 there were registered 2 patients at the age a bit higher than 25. Most of all Alzheimer’s still is diagnosed at advancing age, but the situation seems to change.

2. The most dangerous one is the decrease of the brain activity.

The more you train your brain in the right way the less is the risk to get Alzheimer’s.

Healthy life style is helpful also.

3. Genetics.

Those who have a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases the more members have the illness. When diseases tend to run in families, either heredity (genetics) or environmental factors, or both, may play a role.

Talking about genetics as a science, scientists concluded that IL1-RAP gene is the most important and cause Alzheimer’s according to the up-to-date research results.

Earlier they found out that here were two types of genes that could play a role in affecting — risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer's genes have been found in both categories.

a - Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease. The risk gene with the strongest influence is called apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4). Scientists estimate that APOE-e4 may be a factor in 20 to 25 percent of Alzheimer's cases.

b - APOE-e4 is one of three common forms of the APOE gene; the others are APOE-e2 and APOE-e3. Everyone inherits a copy of some form of APOE from each parent. Those who inherit APOE-e4 from one parent have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Those who inherit APOE-e4 from both parents have an even higher risk, but not a certainty. Scientists are not yet certain how APOE-e4 increases risk. In addition to raising risk, APOE-e4 may tend to make Alzheimer's symptoms appear at a younger age than usual.

c - Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop Alzheimer’s: amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PS-1) and presenilin-2 (PS-2).

d - When Alzheimer’s disease is caused by these deterministic variations, it is called “autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD)” or “familial Alzheimer’s disease,” and many family members in multiple generations are affected. Symptoms nearly always develop before age 60, and may appear as early as a person's 30s or 40s. Deterministic Alzheimer's variations have been found in only a few hundred extended families worldwide. True familial Alzheimer’s accounts for less than 5 percent of cases.

4. Head injuries.

Head injuries and Alzheimer’s are strongly connected as there were incidents when the Alzheimer’s showed after violence, transportation accidents, construction, and sports.

5. Heart & body.

All components of our body are interrelated so blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol can be also risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

IV. FIRST symptoms

Mild forgetfulness. Forgetting the names and recent events.

Figuring the same question many times.

Repeating the same story word for word.

Difficult to pay in the store.

Possible to get lost in a familiar environment.

Neglecting hygiene procedures. Patients no longer monitor the cleanliness of their clothes and their homes.

Usage of the words similar in sounding but different in meaning.

Difficultness with concentration.

Neglecting new things or minor changes.

Quickly lost of interest and becoming irritable and aggressive for no reason.

Forgetting to eat or the fact that already had dinner. Always choosing only one type of food. Not experiencing the feeling of satiety.

Often losing things.

V. WHAT TO DO IF…