What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease one of several disorders that cause the gradual loss of brain cells.. The research has shown that Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia; in fact 70% of dementias are due to Alzheimer’s disease.
There is decline in thinking skills and progressive deterioration of brain performance. Common symptoms include a gradual loss of memory, problems with reasoning or judgment, disorientation, difficulty in learning, loss of language skills, etc. People with dementia also experience changes in their personalities and behavioral problems. The cumulative effect of all these changes becomes distressing both to the individual and their families. It can affect to any social, economic, ethnic or geographical boundaries; eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life. The magnitude of this disease is huge, there are estimated to be 17-25 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s disease.
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is an important step in getting appropriate treatment, care, and support services. There is no one diagnostic test that can detect if a person has Alzheimer’s disease, but the process involves several kinds of tests and may take more than one day to complete the evaluation. Evaluations may include the following steps:
- A medical history, which collects information about current mental or physical conditions, prescription and nonprescription drug use, and family health history
- A mental status evaluation to assess sense of time and place; ability to remember, understand, and communicate; and ability to do simple math problems
- A physical examination, which includes the evaluation of the person’s nutritional status, blood pressure, sensations, balance, and other functions of nervous system
- Investigations like a brain scan like CT and MRI to detect other causes of dementia such as stroke and laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests, for checking various components of blood, hormones, enzymes, infections, etc.