Alzheimer’s Basics: Diagnosis, Stages and Treatment

Dementia is an umbrella term that covers numerous mental illnesses that are marked by the impairment of at least two brain functions. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia. It is a neurodegenerative disease that begins mild and ramps in intensity as it progresses. Alzheimer’s is mainly exhibited in a patient in the form of memory loss.

There are 3 main stages of Alzheimer’s: Preclinical – before the symptoms appear, Mild cognitive decline – when the symptoms are mild and don’t affect the person too much and Dementia – when the effects are severe.

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis means that the person has been exhibiting a decline in cognitive and behavioral function. This decline is measured by the presence of symptoms like a significant decline in cognitive levels in specific areas, memory loss, learning and recalling new information, and language problems. These are all good indicators that the person has Alzheimer’s.

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s is not as straight forward as other illnesses. There is no single test that will give accurate results hence doctors instead use a range of information, symptoms, medical history and ruling out any other possible disease after which they will conduct cognitive and memory tests to accurately gauge if the person has Alzheimer’s.

Currently, a cure for Alzheimer’s does not exist. Instead, the treatment for Alzheimer’s is to help patients deal with it in the most comfortable way possible. Any treatment will be focused on mitigating the symptoms as opposed to combating the disease. This is because Alzheimer’s is caused by the death of brain cells and there is currently no way to revive dead brain cells.

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