As people age, they may become more forgetful. They may forget to pay a bill once in a while or to mop the floor. Forgetting something occasionally isn’t necessarily a sign of a more serious problem. However, when the person’s cognitive function negatively affects their way of life, it may be time to seek medical help. One of the potential causes of this cognitive decline is Alzheimer’s disease. The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are currently unknown, but scientists continue to study this complex disease.
In the beginning, family members may be able to help manage the symptoms, but as time progresses, an Alzheimer’s care program may be necessary. To learn about our Alzheimer’s treatment program, contact us at 281.305.1846 today. Together, we can find ways to make your loved one’s life as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. It can cause issues with memory, behaviors, and thought processes. The symptoms often develop fairly slowly, but they progress over time, eventually becoming so intense as to interfere with activities of daily living. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can include:
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Difficulty thinking logically or organizing thoughts
- Decreased attention span
- Issues coping with new situations
- Difficulty with languages, working with numbers, reading, and writing
- Increasing memory loss and confusion.
Many people with Alzheimer’s can become frustrated or afraid as the disease progresses, which, in turn, can lead to aggression, irritability, and even violence. In addition, the person may wander away from their home and get lost or hurt.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
What causes Alzheimer’s? At this time, scientists don’t know the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Some hypothesize that the causes could include the following:
- Age-related changes in the brain
- Lifestyle factors
- Genetic factors
- Environmental factors
That being said, the factors that could increase or decrease the risk of the disease differ from person to person.
Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease
Age is not a cause of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is a known risk factor. For people above the age of 65, the number of people with this condition doubles roughly every five years. In fact, nearly a third of people above the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s.
Scientists continue to examine how the changes in the brain as people age affect the cells and contribute to the damage Alzheimer’s causes. These changes can include a variety of factors, such as:
- The breakdown of the cell’s energy production
- The production of unstable molecules, also known as free radicals
- Atrophy of specific parts of the brain
- Vascular damage
It’s important to remember that age is only one risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, people may live well into their 90s without developing dementia.
Another potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is genetics. If a family member has had this condition, other family members may be more likely to develop it. However, as with age, a family history doesn’t ensure someone will have it.
Age and genetics are only two potential risk factors leading to Alzheimer’s. Doctors encourage older adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet, plenty of physical and social activities, a healthy sleep schedule, and a range of mentally stimulating pursuits.
Consider Alzheimer’s Care at Parkway Place
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition, and it can be overwhelming to deal with the effects without support. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to travel down this road alone. At Parkway Place, our Alzheimer’s care program supports the unique needs of people with dementia, allowing them to have support in a safe and secure environment. To learn more about the causes of Alzheimer’s, use our convenient online form or call 281.305.1846 today.