Did you notice your mom, dad or grandparent forgetting things or acting different? These might be the first few signs of Alzheimer’s, debilitating disease that attacks the brain. This ailment may turn a loved one into a completely different person once it takes full effect. Knowing its effects on the mind enables you to prepare or at least mitigate its negative effects.
The Damage Caused by Alzheimer’s
This disease causes tissue loss and nerve cell death, resulting in shrinkage of the brain over time. When the brain shrinks, it will negatively affect most, if not all of its functions. Some of the characteristics of an Alzheimer’s brain include:
- A shriveled up cortex, which affects thinking, remembering and planning.
- The hippocampus is the most hit when brain shrinkage occurs. This part has an integral role in creating new memories.
- The ventricles, spaces that contain fluid in the brain, grow bigger.
- Clusters of plaque begin to accumulate between the brain’s nerve cells and tissues.
- The brain has fewer synapses and nerve cells compared to a disease-free one.
- Dying or dead nerve cells form tangles, which severely damage or completely destroy important cell transport systems made of proteins.
These are only some of the brain manifestations of Alzheimer’s Disease; this ailment will also produce behavioral changes that may require 24-hour care for your loved one.
Behavioral Signs of Alzheimer’s
The cognitive effects of this disease include disruption of memory, language, reasoning and thinking. Its psychiatric and behavioral symptoms occur to some degree but not to all patients that have this illness. During the early phases of Alzheimer’s, affected individuals may experience depression, anxiety and irritability. Once the ailment reaches the latter stages, other symptoms may take place, such as sleeping problems, restlessness, agitation, hallucinations and delusions just to name a few.
Alzheimer’s not only affects the person who has it, but also the people around them. Understanding the symptoms and effects of the disease enables you to cope and help your loved one through it.