Alzheimer’s Disease And How You Should Deal With It
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the brain cells of an individual start to die, and this results in memory loss and cognitive decline. When Alzheimer’s disease was first discovered in 1906, doctors thought that it was a rare disorder. However, this changed over time. Nowadays, this is the most common type of dementia that accounts for 60-80% of dementia in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease is basically a progressive loss of mental function that is characterized by the degeneration of the brain tissue, including the loss of the nerve cells, the accumulation of an abnormal protein known as beta-amyloid, and the development of neurofibrillary tangles.
When a family member has Alzheimer’s disease, it usually affects everyone in the family. This includes children and even grandchildren. The offspring of the people who have this disease face the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. There are certain behaviors that individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease usually portray. These include:
- Personality and behavior changes
- Impaired judgment
- Language deterioration
- Emotional apathy
- Inability to follow directions
- Impaired communication.
Most people usually think that Alzheimer’s disease is only prevalent among adults. However, this is not always the case. A new study indicated that Alzheimer’s disease begins in childhood. In this case, babies who are younger than one year old usually start showing signs of this disease. If you notice that your child has this disorder, you should take him or her to a pediatric neurologist in Dubai so that he or she can evaluate the disease and even offer the necessary treatment before it advances later in life.
What happens when one has Alzheimer’s disease?
The brain basically works by sending signals. The neurotransmitters in your brain usually allow the brain cells to talk or communicate with each other. Individuals who have this disease typically have a lower amount of neurotransmitters. These individuals instead frequently develop deposits of proteins and fiber that prevent the brain cells from performing properly. In this case, the brain cells cannot send the right signals to other parts of the brain. This makes the brain of the affected persons to shrink and eventually die.
What are the causes of Alzheimer’s disease?
There has been a lot of research that has been done in order to determine the exact cause of this disease. However, the researchers have not been able to determine what exactly causes this disease. What they noted was that older people stand the risk of getting this disease compared to the younger generation. Their research also showed that the genes of an individual could contribute to this problem. In this case, genes handed down from family members can make the person more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. However, this does not mean that everyone who is related to someone who has it can actually get the disease. The following are some risk factors that can lead to this disease:
- Immune system problems
- Abnormal proteins in the brain
- Environmental factors such as air pollution
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Down syndrome
- Head injury.
How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?
Once you take your child to a pediatric neurologist in Dubai, he or she will determine several tests that should be done in order to determine whether your kid has this disease or not. However, it is essential to note that there is no comprehensive test for diagnosing this problem. Several tests must be done in order to rule out other conditions through a process of elimination. This can help the specialist to obtain an approximate of 90% accuracy. The following are the procedures that you can expect your specialist of choice to do:
- Blood tests
- Neuropsychological testing
- Mental status test.
This is basically a brief and simple test of memory and other cognitive or thinking skills that the neurologist will do to your child. It is part of a complete neurological exam
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
This procedure is usually performed by inserting a hollow needle into the lower back of a patient.
Here, a laboratory examination of the urine will be conducted. This can help evaluate various cells and chemicals such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and excessive proteins.
- Chest X-ray.
This test customarily uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams in order to produce images of the internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
This procedure usually records the brain’s continuous electrical activity by means of electrodes that are attached to the scalp.
- Computer tomography scan (CT scan)
This is a diagnostic imaging procedure that normally uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology in order to produce horizontal or axial images of the body. The good news is that the CT scan usually shows detailed images of any part of the body. Some of these parts include the bones, muscles, fat, and other organs. A CT scan is usually more detailed than the general X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance Imaging
This is another diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer in order to generate detailed images of the different organs of the body and structures of the body.
- Genetic testing
Since there is no cure or effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, the decision to undertake this testing usually requires careful consideration. You also need counseling from other specialists in genetics.
Is it possible to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
Since the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known, there are no preventive protocols that one should follow at the moment. Doctors are still yet to find a cure for this disease. The only thing that they can do is to help you slow it down. The treatment for Alzheimer’s disease will be determined by your doctor based on the following factors:
- The extent of disease
- Your opinion or preference
- The individual’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
Your pediatric neurologists in Dubai can help prescribe medication in order to help with memory and thinking. This specialist can also give your patient medicine for other problems such as depression, sleeplessness, behavioral disturbance, and so on. If you want to manage this disease, the patient is required to do physical exercises, social activities, and take a proper diet. Living in a calm and well-structured environment can also help mitigate this problem.