stages of alzheimers

The Stages of Alzheimer’s

The stages of Alzheimer’s have been divided into three stages and into 7 stages.

Most commonly, Alzheimer’s is divided into three stages: early, moderate and end. Which is useful because it’s quite straightforward. And, it tells you everything you need to know.

However, for people who want a more granular understanding of the disease, The Reisberg system, breaks the progression down into seven stages. This system was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University.[1]

Reisberg’s seven stages of Alzheimer’s

Many healthcare professionals around America are said to use this system as is the Alzheimer’s Association.

As one of the most insidious diseases suffered by people over 45, Alzheimer’s has no cure (yet), and has been known to cause death. This is why Reisberg’s seven stages are so important. The more granular our understanding of this disease, the closer we come to finding a cure.

The seven stages are:

Stage one: no impairment

As the name of the stage says, there’s no visible symptoms at this stage. No memory loss or physical impairment are in evidence.

Stage two: very mild decline

This is when memory loss starts to occur. However, it’s not quite cause for panic as this sort of memory loss is also natural for older people. If a memory test were taken at this stage, 8 out of 10 sufferers would pass, and those who didn’t would probably not be suspected of having dementia.

Stage three: mild decline

At this stage sufferers will start to have difficulty planning, organizing, remembering names of acquaintances and finding the right words during a conversation.

It’s at this stage that a memory and cognitive test would start to imply the potential of Alzheimer’s.

Stage four: moderate decline

This is the stage where it becomes obvious Alzheimer’s is the cause for memory loss. By this stage, people have trouble with simple math, forget what they ate for breakfast, and may even forget details about their life.

Stage five: moderately severe decline

At this stage, people need help managing because they experience confusion, have trouble dressing appropriately and can forget the simplest details about themselves.

At this stage, people still have some level of functionality—for example they can still go to the toilet and shower on their own. And they will know their family and close friends.

Stage 6: severe decline

If a person is suffering stage 6 they will need constant supervision. And professional care.

Some of the symptoms of stage 6 include:

  • loss of bladder control
  • confusion about surroundings
  • potential behaviour problems
  • unable to remember details of life
  • can’t recognize faces

Stage 7: very severe decline

Sadly, Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease. People in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease are close to death. They lose the ability to communicate and respond to what’s going on around them, they can still utter phrases but don’t understand what’s going on.

Some people lose the ability to swallow in the final stages of Alzheimer’s as well as require constant supervision and care.

 

[1] http://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/

Advertisements
Brain Health

TIPS FOR KEEPING THE BRAIN HEALTHY

Our brain function doesn’t have to fade simply because we are growing older. A lot of people go about taking care of their physical health, lifting weight and going through with other exercises but fail to think about the health of their brain. This is something everyone should do. We all need to take care of our brain as it serves a very important role in our daily lives; from playing to learning, to working, aptitude, memory, and personality, the brain does a very important job in our lives.

While the brain serves as one of the most vital organs a human body is equipped with, it is also the most mysterious. There are a lot of things about the brain that are yet to be uncovered by scientists including why some people can remember their first pet at the age of 100, while some develop brain decline in their 50s. But according to researches, taking care of our brain can help it remain sharp as stack and this can be done with just a few lifestyle choices. Having a healthy brain is very essential for everybody. Below are some amazing tips that can help us keep our brain healthy;

TREAT YOUR BRAIN LIKE YOU TREAT YOUR HEART

The heart is one major organ that a lot of us look well after. The heart gets its disease when the arteries that provides it with blood are occluded. In other words, this means that heart diseases come up when the heart doesn’t get enough nutrients. This same logic applies to our brain. If the arteries that supply blood to the brain are clogged and therefore do not provide the brain with the nutrients it requires, the health and function of the brain will be compromised leading to brain diseases. You should ensure that you have your cholesterol levels checked, increase your intake of unsaturated fat and decrease your intake of saturated fat.

INTERACT AND BOND WITH OTHERS

One of the things that highly engages our brain is socializing. Social settings help us use our brain quite well. When we go out to meet people, we read facial expressions, we read body languages, practice empathy for others and understand social context; all of these involves using our brain. Additionally, when we interact with others, we tend to get more positive emotions which in turn provides the brain with chemicals that ensures that the brain remains healthy.

MOVE YOUR BODY

That’s right, exercise keeps our arteries healthy and also affects the brain tissue in a positive way. As we go older, our brains have the tendency to shrink, but people who exercise regularly do not experience this. Why, you might ask? The answer is simple; when you exercise, the number of connection in the brain is increased, and the more connections the brain has, the more memory storage capacity it will have to save information. Exercising also triggers the brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which helps the neurons to remain healthy while keeping them away from dying.

Communicating with Alzheimers Sufferer

Communicating With Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease

We all know that the Alzheimer’s disease affects people mentally. It basically impacts the person’s ability to recall past events and can dramatically alter that individual’s capacity for communication.

This is why having conversations with people who have Alzheimer’s needs proper attention. After all, their cognitive skills are not the same as the normal ones – and the communication needs patience, understanding and good listening skills.

Here are some tips to keep conversations with a cognitively-impaired loved one positive at all times:

Face Them Off – A friendly eye contact goes a long way when having dialogue with a person suffering from the Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Using their name during conversation is another great way to get their attention.

Diminish Distractions – Any background noise such as the TV, radio or even a fan can distract people suffering from Alzheimer’s. That is why you should always be patient when having a conversation and ideally, find a quiet place where the two of you can converse in peace.

Talk One-on-One – A common rule when conversing with people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia is to minimize the number of people involved in the discussion. The more people there are, the more complicated the situation gets – which is why you should keep talks with a person who has Alzheimer’s one-on-one if and whenever possible.

Keep It Simple – According to many experts, comments and conversations with people suffering from the Alzheimer’s should always be kept short and simple. If you are conversing to the point, you will make it easier for the person to understand and reply to your talk. Also, referring to nouns by their actual name (ex.saying ‘dog’ instead of ‘it’) can help them understand the situation and minimize the open-ended questions.

Always Avoid Conflict – Arguing with a person who has Alzheimer’s will only make it hard for them and more agitated for you. That is why you should always avoid inflammatory comments such as ‘I just told you that’ or ‘You are wrong’.

Be Patient And Enter Their World – Last but not least, you should know that patience goes a long way when communicating with people struggling with Alzheimer’s. You should basically enter their world and live in their reality.

In the end, no matter what stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is in, you should always follow these rules and establish a positive, human connection that is vital to their well being.

what is alzheimers

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

The origins of Alzheimer’s disease, and what you need to be aware of.

Alzheimer’s disease is named after dr. Alois Alzheimer who first named it in 1906. The story goes that Dr. Alois Alzheimer “noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).[1]

Dr. Alzheimer’s discovery of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary are still considered main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Since Dr. Alzheimer’s time, another discovery about brain tissue was discovered: Alzheimer’s disease also causes a loss of connection between nerve cells. These nerve cells are what transmit messages between different parts of the brain as well as from the brain to muscles and organs in your body.

3 important things you need to know about Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. One of the many horrible things about this disease is the symptoms develop gradually, almost imperceptibly, until the disease becomes so severe that suffers struggle to do regular, everyday tasks.

Despite the medical community knowing about this disease for more than 100 years, there are many myths around the disease and those who suffer from it. Three things you should know about Alzheimer’s disease:

1.       It’s not a normal sign of aging

The idea that Alzheimer’s is part of growing old exists because the average age of people diagnosed is 65. However, in America alone, roughly 200,000 under 65s have what’s known as younger-onset—or early-onset—Alzheimer’s disease.

This is just one reason why you should never dismiss the idea that Alzheimer’s is a disease only older people get. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s is important to help manage the disease, because early detection and management go a long way to sufferers living longer.

2.       Alzheimer’s worsens over time

A progressive disease, Alzheimer’s worsens over the years. At first, memory loss is mind—it’s that fuzzy brain feeling where you know you know something but can’t for the life of you remember what it is.

Then it gets worse. Much worse. Memory isn’t the only thing to go. The ability to hold a conversation or be cognizant of your environment also starts to go.

To put it into perspective, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in America.

3.       No cure. But symptoms can be treated

As yet, there are no treatments to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. What we have at the moment are treatments to manage symptoms and make life easier for sufferers and their caregivers. Worldwide, scientists and doctors are attempting to find a cure, but until then the best that can be done is to manage this horrifying disease.

Help is available

Alzheimer’s sufferers are not alone. Alzheimer’s Association is a great place to find information, support and local resources. Visit Alzheimer’s navigator today

[1] https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet

Music Fighting Dementia

How Music is Helping Fight Dementia

Dementia, a horrific disease, can be fought with music

The idea music can fight dementia and help improve memory and cognitive function is heart-warming, and very real. There is plenty of research and documentation over the last 5/6 years that shows music can really help bring dementia sufferers out of their shell.

The renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, in his book “Musicophilla” wrote that for Alzheimer’s patients, “music is no luxury to them, but a necessity, and it can have a power beyond anything else to restore them to themselves, and to others, at least for a while.”[1]

Dementia in the US

Dementia has no cure. Some treatments can manage the disease, but it has a high mortality rate. In 2015, conservative estimates showed that about one in eight baby boomers will get some form of dementia.

The current number of people who have dementia in the United States is somewhere between 5.4 and 5.5 million, depending on which study you read. Of those 5.4/5.5 million, around 200,000 are under the age of 65.

For those people with younger-onset—or early-onset—they have a higher chance of living much longer than those diagnosed later in life because they’ll be able to manage it before it becomes too debilitating.

Music and dementia: what you should know

Researchers have determined that dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can recall memories and emotions as well as have an enhanced mental performance after listening to, and singing, music.

Researchers believe music boosts brain activity, improves memory and makes people more active. Here are some of the reasons why:

Music can evoke emotions, and these emotions can trigger memories.

To quote Dr Sacks again, music can bring “back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”[2] In a 2014 documentary “Alive Inside”, a social worker by the name of Dan Cohen demonstrated music’s ability to combat memory loss. The results are amazing, watch here to see how positively music can affect an Alzheimer’s patient.

Music is engaging

Specifically, it’s singing music that is engaging. When we sing, we engage more than just the part of the brain related to the act of singing.

What researchers have found is that singing activates the left side of our brain, while listening to music sparks activity in the right side—and watching others singing with you activates the visual areas of the brain.

Singing in a group helps to exercise more mind power than most people normally use in regular activities—this is just one of the reasons it’s so beneficial for dementia patients.

Music can be a positive mood changer and stress reliever

Music is a language, and it’s one that gets people moving, remembering and enjoying themselves. Music requires next to no mental processing, which means dementia suffers don’t require the cognitive function that’s been impaired by dementia to process and enjoy music.

For many dementia sufferers, music is freedom, and it’s a way they can express themselves that otherwise was lost.

For more information, we recommend visiting the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, who have an entire page dedicated to music therapy.

[1] http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-2015/music-therapy-for-alzheimers.html

[2] http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-07-21/why-music-boosts-brain-activity-in-dementia-patients/