The Struggle with Alzheimer's and Dementia is Very Real

Having a family member develop Alzheimer’s is one of the most difficult situations a family can be put in. It’s such a terrifying and painful disease because it will seem like nothing is amiss and then suddenly it will seem that your family member is a complete different person.

This back and forth becomes very difficult and painful to see.

Research continues every day around the world to attempt to battle Alzheimer’s and alleviate the suffering of the people suffering it. Hopefully one day it will be curable. Unfortunately that day is not yet here. Alzheimer’s often requires a lot of assistance, so nursing and long term care homes are often options for assistance.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s

A lot of people confuse dementia with Alzheimer’s disease. It can be complicated and things can be mixed up quite easily. Dementia is the umbrella term. Alzheimer’s is a common cause of dementia. Think of it this way. If someone is diagnosed with a fever, that would be equivalent to dementia. However the cause of the fever isn’t immediately known. It could be caused by one of many different things. The cause in this case is Alzheimer’s disease.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia is a type of dementia that is often contracted in addition to Alzheimer’s. The two of them work and produce similar results. Sometimes Lewy Body Dementia is called the “Lewy body variant of Alzheimer’s disease”. What causes it is an abnormally high level of a specific protein that is located in brain cells. The founder of these titled them “Lewy bodies” after himself. These Lewy bodies work to disrupt brain signals so that it no longer functions correctly. Unfortunately this will typically affect their thinking and movement. It can also hurt short term memory.

Early Signs of Dementia

Dementia can be difficult to determine. It comes on slowly and the slight changes in the person may often not be noticeable for quite a while. Because of this, it’s important to keep your eyes open and pay attention to anyone who may be exhibiting any of these early signs:

  • Short Term Memory Issues - This is one of the most common problems. Memory problems certainly get worse as Alzheimer’s or dementia increases.
  • Confusion - This sense of confusion is a warning sign. People may struggle to understand concepts they usually are quite adept with.
  • Altered Personalities - People may not necessarily change quickly, but their personality will often change. Those who used to be lighthearted may turn dour. It can also move the other way. These changes will often occur slowly and steadily.
  • Lack of Concern/Depression - This sort of apathy and withdrawal into themselves can be another sign of coming dementia. It’s easier to pull away from people when someone is unsure and not feeling the way they used to.
  • Short Attention Span - Those who may come to have dementia will often lose their ability to focus and become easily distracted.

Many people associate a lot of these symptoms as a part of “just getting old”. That’s really not the case. These are warning signs that need to be paid attention to.

Is Alzheimer’s Hereditary?

Many people think every disease is hereditary. Hereditary diseases are inevitable. They are always going to happen. Alzheimer’s is not hereditary in that regard. However, it has been proven that those with a parent or close sibling with Alzheimer’s are at an increased risk to also get the disease.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the risk is purely genetic. While it’s likely there are genetic markers creating a predisposition to Alzheimer’s, it’s possible that it is environmental factors that are equally influencing the close family members.

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