According to the staff of the Mayo Clinic, the progressive disease that destroys a person’s memory and a number of their other important mental functions is known as Alzheimer’s Disease. This is also one of the more common causes of Dementia or the loss of cognitive, intellectual, and social skills in a normally unimpaired individual. Eventually, the symptoms become so severe that the individual cannot perform even the most basic day-to-day activities and functions without assistance.
What Causes The Disease?
It has oftentimes been stated that finding an Alzheimer’s cure starts by determining the causes of the disease. Unfortunately, medical and scientific research has yet to identify the cause or causes of Alzheimer’s.
However, there are certain elements that are attributed to the development of the disease. These are referred to as risk factors, all of which can impact the likelihood of the disease developing. So, if you have a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s, you should consult with the family or treating physician in order to develop a treatment regimen.
The disease is characterized by an accumulation (build-up) of proteins in our brains. However, the amount of that build-up cannot be determined until the individual has passed away and an autopsy is conducted in order to dissect and examine the brain.
What coroners and medical examiners typically find are two ways that protein build-ups occur:
- Plaques – protein deposits known as beta-amyloids accumulate in the spaces found between the nerve cells of the brain.
- Tangles – the protein deposits that are referred to as “tau” and have accumulated within the brain’s nerve cells.
Interestingly enough, medical experts and scientists are still trying to determine how these two protein deposits are related to the disease.
Medical autopsies and research have shown that plaques and tangles develop normally as we age. However, it has also been discovered that people who have succumbed to the disease have developed considerably more plaques and tangles than those individuals who have not developed it.
How Is Alzheimer’s Treated?
Although medicine and science have yet to discover an Alzheimer’s cure, there are treatment regimens that physicians and specialists recommend based on several factors. This includes the age, medical history, and overall health of the individual. The extent of the disease along with the anticipated course of it is also considered. Finally, the opinions and preferences of the patient’s caregiver as well as the person’s tolerance for certain prescription medications and therapies play a significant role in the treatment of the disease.