Neurodegeneration Disorder is an umbrella term for a range of conditions which primarily affect the neurons in the human brain. Neurons are the building blocks of the nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. They normally don’t reproduce or replace themselves, so when they become damaged or die they cannot be replaced by the body. Examples of neurodegenerative diseases include Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease.
Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. While development and symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:
· Communication and language
· Ability to focus and pay attention
· Reasoning and judgment
· Visual perception
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases
Research on Alzheimer's diseases shows that it is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer's is caused by brain cell death. It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is progressive brain cell death that happens over a course of time. The total brain size shrinks with Alzheimer's - the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections.
A few common symptoms of Alzheimer's are:
1. Progressive Memory Loss
This is the most well-known symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. For those suffering with the disease, it often starts with impairment in short-term memory.
2. Decline In Cognitive Abilities
In its early stages, signs of this deterioration in cognitive ability include losing track of time, becoming easily disoriented, or other signs of poor judgment and lack of insight.
3. Change In Mood Or Personality
Mood and personality changes include a person acting withdrawn, irritable, inexplicably hostile, apathetic, confused or anxious in their usual activities.
4. Speech Impairment
Speech is another part of the brain which is commonly affected even in early stages of Alzheimer’s. Signs of speech impairment include having difficulty finding words.
5. Behavioural Problems
A full cure and Alzheimer's disease treatment is still to be discovered, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.