A degenerative brain disorder that gradually deteriorates memory, awareness and control of bodily functions eventually leading to death.
The disease generally strikes in middle age, but mostly people over 65 are the victims. The course of the disease are divided into three stages.
First stage is the stage of defective comprehension and perception, loss of memory, impaired reasoning, difficulty concentrating and making mistakes in simpler tasks.
In second stage intellectual degeneration occurs. Memory is particularly impaired.
In the last stage or terminal stage person becomes disoriented for time, place and person.
He becomes bedridden and losses control over whole body.
The cause of Alzheimer is so far unknown. It is suggested that the cause of Alzheimer may be due to a biochemical deficiency in the brain or it is inherited.
The early signs of Alzheimer are not alarming and so are often overlooked. The alarming signs include inability to remember things, inability to control bodily movements and deterioration of short term memory.
The most prominent early symptoms is patient forgetting recent events, confusion, restlessness, impairment of judgment, speech, concentration, hyperactivity, irritability and delirium. As the disease progresses the symptoms become more disabling. At the advanced stages, the patient cannot understand or use language,doesnot recognize family members and completely becomes dependent on others for help.
Diagnosing Alzheimer is extremely difficult as there are no tests to diagnose it.
Generally the area of the brain associated with memory is affected and memory cells are damaged.
Patients with Alzheimer’s are helped with drugs that relieve depression, irritability, restlessness and sleep. In such cases the role of family members is very important. Members of family have to be understanding and helpful.
Proper nourishment and fluid intake, physical exercise and physical therapy improves the quality of life. Memory aids help in everyday functioning and also in improving the long term and short term memory. Communication with the patient also improves in memory functioning.
Alzheimer is such an disease wherein both the patient and family members require social and emotional support which can come through professional counseling and support groups.
Medical treatment is equally necessary for these patients. In such cases family members suffer to a great extent, since the victim cannot reciprocate expressions of affection, caring, love and intimacy. Proper understanding and acceptance of the disease and the suffering person, family members can cope with the situation without any stress and can walk on a right path for the treatment.