An In-Depth Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease by Your Neurologist in Leesburg, VA
Alzheimer’s disease is not just a memory loss problem. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, and it has taken more lives than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. Prompt and specialized care is crucial at the onset of this critical condition. In this post, your trusted neurologist in Leesburg VA discussed this disease in detail —its symptoms, stages, and more.
An Overview of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease, also referred to as senile dementia, is a progressive neurological condition that destroys the patient’s mental capacities. It slowly kills brain cells and their connections, impairing memory and other essential cognitive functions. While it primarily affects senior citizens, Alzheimer’s disease is known to afflict persons at any age.
Studies show that the disease is also hereditary. In a recent memory test done on a select group of people between 18 and 65 years old, it was revealed that those with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease have a higher risk of developing the condition compared with those who didn’t have any.
Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease typically experience:
• Loss of memory
• Inability to tell time or place
• Uncharacteristic difficulty in solving problems
• Challenges in completing tasks at home or leisure time
• Struggles in determining visual images and spatial relationships
The severity of each symptom depends on how far the disease has progressed. Consult a neurologist in Leesburg immediately at the first sign of any of these symptoms.
How Alzheimer’s Disease Affects the Brain
As individuals age, their brain shrinks to some degree. Those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, however, lose huge amounts of neurons as well. Aside from this, a number of neurons also lose their function, leading to a significant disconnect in the patient’s neurological processes.
Sections of the brain that are involved in memory, language, reasoning, and social behavior deteriorate as Alzheimer’s progresses. The damage causes the individual’s inability to function independently. The disease typically starts destroying neurological connections in the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and cerebral cortex. It eventually moves on to the other parts of the brain.
The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease gradually takes over a person’s bodily functions. Based on observations of past patients, Dulles neurology experts have broken down the impact of Alzheimer’s disease into seven stages:
1. Normal Outward Behavior
In this stage, the symptoms are not yet visible. Going through a PET scan, an imaging exam that assesses the brain’s functionality, is the only the way to determine the presence of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Mild Changes
Symptoms are still not observable at this stage; however, the patient may experience memory problems more frequently. Common issues include difficulty with recalling words and misplacing objects. Since these symptoms are minor, they won’t keep the patient from working or living independently yet.
3. Mild Decline
At this stage, the patient begins asking the same questions over and over. They will also have a hard time recalling names when meeting new people, making plans, and remembering something that they’ve just read.
4. Moderate Decline
At this stage, the patient starts forgetting details about themselves. They will also struggle with common thinking and reasoning activities, such as cooking meals, ordering from a menu, and recalling the current month.
5. Moderate Severe Decline
At this stage, the patient begins losing track of where they are. They will also find it difficult to remember their address, contact number, what time it is, and what type of clothing is appropriate for the season.
6. Severe Decline
At this stage, the patient starts having a hard time remembering names. They will also misidentify people and experience delusions, like thinking they need to go to work even though they’ve been unemployed for years.
7. Very Severe Decline
At this stage, the patient loses basic abilities, including eating, walking, and sitting up. They will require intensive care and attention from their loved ones as they can no longer tell when they’re hungry or thirsty.
Handling Alzheimer’s Disease
While no cure exists for Alzheimer’s at the moment, there are steps that can be taken to manage its symptoms and slow down its progression. At the first sign of the disease, consult any of these specialists for prompt diagnosis:
• Geriatric psychiatrist
• General neurologist
• Behavioral neurologist
While any of these medical experts can offer the necessary care and assistance to combat Alzheimer’s, it’s still best to rely on a neurologist. Alzheimer’s is a neurological condition, after all, and neurologists are the most informed when it comes to research regarding the condition.
Get Compassionate Care for Alzheimer’s from an Experienced Neurologist
For the best care for Alzheimer’s disease, trust only Neurology Associates. As the leading board-certified neurologist in Leesburg, VA, Dr. Sabjot Dulai can help you or your loved one combat this neurological condition. Call (703) 726-6393 today to set an appointment!