Living with Alzheimer’s disease can be tough. Up to 70% percent of all cases of dementia (progressive memory loss) are attributed to Alzheimer’s – a condition that targets the brain cells and causes them to stop working. The chemicals that help the brain cells communicate break down and things go haywire. Sufferers experience increasing memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, and changes in behavior. The effects of Alzheimer’s affect the sufferer, their loved ones, and others close to them. While there is currently no cure for the disease, treatments can help slow the progression of memory loss and help patients experience a better quality of life.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
Progressive memory loss. It starts with short-term memories, like where you put your car keys or shoes. The ability to recall names or things that just occurred is affected. It then progresses to long-term memories, such as the names of people very close to you, and the ability to know the date, place, and time. The severity of the disease is seen when sufferers forget important activities of daily living and the health begins to decline.
Loss of speech. You may understand what others are saying to you, but not be able torecall the words to use to answer. You may also notice words getting mixed up such as using the word “apple” for “light switch.” In later stages, Alzheimer’s patients stop speaking completely.
Loss of motor skills.Motor skills may become slightly impaired at first and then more significantly in the final stages. Simple tasks like putting a coat on and writing are affected first. As the disease progresses, important functions like swallowing and bladder control are lost.
Loss of the five senses. In the end stages, you may not understand sensations from any of the senses. You may not understand what you hear or interpret pain signals. You may not be able to process what you see, taste, or smell. One dangerous effect is not being able to remember the smell of smoke when something is on fire.
Altered behavior and moods. You may seem happy and smiling one day and then angry and hostile the next.