5 Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease You Might Not Know
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) refers to a type of dementia that causes memory loss, diminished cognitive skills and change of behavior. The symptoms of this condition develop slowly and become worse as time goes by. At its most severe stage, it can completely interfere with one’s daily activities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are 5 Alzheimer’s disease facts that have been scientifically proved in the recent years.
- Alzheimer’s isn’t a normal part of the aging process
Though aging has been found to be the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, studies indicate that it is not simply a disease of old age. The majority of AD cases accrue to people aged 65 and above, but up to 5 percent of people experience early onset of the symptoms. Research has show that early-onset AD can affect people even at their 40s.
- It can be detected many years before the symptoms arise
According to experts, Alzheimer’s can be detected way before the symptoms manifest by testing the lens and retina of the eyes. If beta-amyloid (a protein associated with Alzheimer’s) is detected, then early treatment can begin immediately. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes death of neurons. And if the cause of lost neurons is treated, there will be production of new brain tissue which will inhibit the development of AD and improve brain function.
- Women are at a higher risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s
Based on a report that was released by United States Department of Health and Human Services, the number of women suffering from AD is twice as large as that of men. Researchers have also found out that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including brain shrinkage, worsen quicker in women. Though brain changes might be as a result of other causes, it still affects a larger percentage of women.
- It is linked with the loss of sense of smell
Several studies have suggested that persons with AD may lose their sense of smell. According to the Journal of Neurological Sciences, changes in the sense of smell may be one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s. However, it’s important to note that the ability to smell might also be impaired by brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, sinus infection and some others conditions.
- Education can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s
Experts have indicated that persons who keep their brain active in old age have lower odds of suffering from AD. The theory is clearly supported by the National Institute on Aging which suggests that the more one engages in learning activities, the lower the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. So people of old age can minimize the risk by learning languages, playing musical instruments or participating in group activities.