6. What causes Alzheimer's disease?
It's exact cause is not yet known. In its early onset, which occurs in people aged between 30 and 60, a genetic mutation is usually the cause. Late-onset of Alzheimer's develops after the age of 60 and arises from a complex series of brain changes that occur over decades. The causes may include a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.
Age is the most well-known risk for Alzheimer's disease. However, lifestyle factors such as diet and physical exercise as well as long-term health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes may also play a role.
7. If you become forgetful as you get older, does that mean you will get Alzheimer's disease?
No. Not all memory problems are caused by Alzheimer's disease. In fact, mild forgetfulness is often a normal part of aging. Memory problems may also be related to a treatable health issue too. The following conditions may signal future memory loss, or possibly dementia:
• Medication side effects.
• Vitamin B12 deficiency.
• Chronic alcoholism.
• Tumors or infections in the brain.
• Thyroid, liver or kidney disorders also can lead to memory loss.
• Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety or depression may make a person forgetful. But the confusion and forgetfulness caused by emotions usually are temporary and tend to subside once the feelings fade.
8. Why is early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s important?
An early diagnosis can help people and their families plan for the future, giving them time to discuss care options, find support and make legal and financial arrangements while the person with Alzheimer's is still able to. In addition, early diagnosis offers the best chance to treat the symptoms.
9. Are there any medicines to treat Alzheimer's disease?
Unfortunately there are no medications to stop Alzheimer's disease. But four medications are recommended to treat the symptoms, including thinking, memory and speaking skills. They work by regulating certain chemicals in the brain. But most of these medicines work best for people diagnosed in the early or middle stages of the disease.
10. Is there anything I can do to prevent Alzheimer's disease?
While there are no medicines or treatments that one can take to prevent Alzheimer's, scientists are looking into many possibilities including lifestyle factors like exercise and physical activity, a healthy diet as well as mentally stimulating activities.
Scientists have also found clues that certain long-term health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes may be linked to Alzheimer's disease. It may therefore be possible that controlling these conditions will reduce a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's.