Memory impairment could be sudden or gradual, and loosing one’s memory when it is most needed can be likened to betrayal from a close friend.
Alzheimer’s disease is one which affects the brain and is the commonest cause of dementia (a global impairment of the brain’s cognitive function).
Mostly seen in the elderly(>65 years) but there are cases of earlier onset.
Most cases of Alzheimers have a genetic link although about 15% of cases are familial.
However, even in the absence of these factors, the disease can still occur.
The main complain will be an inability to remember new information. The loss of memory is usually gradual and although both long-term and short-term memory are affected, defects in short-term memory are more obvious.
Others symptoms include:
*Difficulty in or absence of purposeful/skilled movement,
*Difficulty/absence of speech.
It gets to a point where they deny that anything is wrong which is a typical progression of the disease hence they are usually taken to the hospital by their carers.
There may be symptoms of depression and some aggression.
Having a carer is non-negotiable hence providing them with a familiar environment and support for their carers is a priority. They need trusted individuals to be there for them as this illness can be a good avenue for them to be preyed upon.
In as much as there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, they can have symptomatic treatment based on what they present with such as antidepressants and anticholinesterases.
In summary, Alzheimer’s disease can be managed with good medical care and an excellent family support. These group of patients should not just have their symptoms dismissed as resulting from old age but should be carefully followed up and treated.