Friday, September 4, 2015


     With normal aging, our brain begin to shrink a few cells at a time, which slows brain functioning. In patients with early-stage Alzheimer's, however, a much more insidious process occurs. For reasons that are not well understood, abnormal accumulation of protein fragments and cellular material that contain an insoluble protein called beta-amyloid develop, as do brain-damaging bundles of neurofibers known as neurofibrillary tangles.

     When memory lapses occur as a result of normal aging, the information can almost always be retrieved at some point later. With early-stage Alzheimer's, however, memories of recent events-those that have taken place in past weeks, days or even hours - completely disappear.

     Symptoms that also characterize Alzheimer's in its early stages are the following:
  • Loss of initiative. The person may lose interest in what had been favorite activities, such as gardening, or taking walks. He/she may become passive and spend more time sleeping or watching television.
  • Loss of smell. One study linked Alzheimer's to an inability to identify certain smells - specifically strawberry, smoke, soap, menthol, clove, pineapple, natural gas, lemon and leather.
  • Language problems. Finding the perfect word or phrase becomes increasingly difficult, and vocabulary is diminished.
  • Difficulty reasoning. This affects a persons to do things such as read and understand an instruction manual, balance a checkbook or follow a recipe.
     People who have early - stage Alzheimer's also may have trouble making even simple decisions, take longer to perform routine tasks.. or experience a change in personality (such as a person who is ordinarily very sociable becoming a recluse).

     Many early-stage Alzheimer's symptoms are similar to those caused by depression. Imaging test, as wells as a family history of either condition, can be used to distinguished the two.

     During moderate-stage Alzheimer's Disease, the patient may become less concerned with personal appearance.. confuse the identities of family members.. hear, see or smell things that are not there... and/or need help with basic hygiene.

     Late-stage Alzheimer's is typically characterized by loss of bladder and bowel control... an inability to recognize close family members.. difficulties chewing and swallowing... and a need for total assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, using the toilet, bathing and dressing.

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