ALZHEIMER’S: THE DISEASE OF FORGETFULNESS

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Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s disease is the condition of the neurological system which causes the brain cells to die down. Due to degenerating brain cells some crucial social functions such as memory and intellect start to fade away too. Alzheimer’s usually appears after the age of sixty, but a rare form of Alzheimer’s can appear as early as forty.

Alzheimer’s starts with unnoticeable confusion in routine tasks but in later stages the patients are unable to remember close relationships and the skills that they have mastered their entire lives. The condition can make the patients feel disconnected and can even induce feelings of paranoia as no face seems familiar and everyone turns a stranger in patient’s head. An awareness of the symptoms and internal feelings of Alzheimer’s patients is necessary for empathizing with them. This article explains some of the symptoms and coping strategies for Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms:

Dementia is a tell-tale sign of Alzheimer’s, but the progression of the disease may bring many other symptoms. The type of memory that gets affected also varies according to the stage of disease that the person is experiencing.

Working memory: In the initial phases of Alzheimer’s the working or the short-term memory is affected. Working memory helps us to hold a conversation and remember important information collected throughout the day such as when the last meal was eaten or where the car keys were put. Alzheimer’s patients are unable to remember these small things and are not able to even continue a conversation as they repeat statements again and again without any recollection of this repetition. Although this is the initial phase, but it can have a large influence on routine life as it becomes harder to function with working memory fading away every now and then.

Explicit memory: Explicit memory is the part of long-term memory that requires conscious effort for recollection. These can be important events, close relationships and overwhelming encounters that one experiences in their life. In the next phase of Alzheimer’s, the patient is likely to lose explicit memory and this phase can send the patient into a deep depression as not being able to remember important details of one’s life can create extreme frustration.

Implicit memory: Implicit memory is the part of long-term memory that can be retrieved involuntarily without conscious effort such as riding a bicycle, working on a computer or swallowing food. After working and explicit memory, the implicit memory starts to fade and in this phase the patient might have to leave their job as they might even forget their specific skill. In extreme cases, the patient might require help even for the most natural tasks such as swallowing food.

Coping strategies:

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, some coping strategies can help reduce the intensity of its experience. Following are some of the steps that can help Alzheimer’s patients.

  • Medication is necessary to reduce the intensity of symptoms. Cholinesterase can be controlled by some inhibitors and can help with dementia temporarily
  • A supportive environment is another that can make life easier for Alzheimer’s patients. Make sure that everything in the patient’s life is, on schedule, in a routine and monotonous.
  • Exercise like all other conditions is an essential element of improvement in life quality for Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Social interaction and care are important for patients so that they do not feel isolated.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, you should visit a neurologist. You can visit our website oladoc.com to read up on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as dementia and look for specialists for this condition in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 to get directed to the specialists that are suitable for your specific concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.