One of the saddest moments in our country's history came when the announcement was made that former President Ronald Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. It did bring everyone's attention to this disease that robs a person of a good quality of life, and families lose their loved ones, even if they are still living.
Alzheimer's Disease research analysts state they still do not understand what causes brain cells to die for unknown reasons. A brain has about 100 billion nerve cells. These nerve cells are called neurons and they create the electrical and chemical signals that run from neuron to neuron to help our memory, thinking, and our feelings. As these cells die, fewer neurotransmitters are produced and this is what causes problems for the brain.
Dr. Alois Alzheimer, an Alzheimer's Disease research analyst, discovered clumps and knots in the brain of a woman who had died after several years of Dementia.
These are considered trademarks of Alzheimer's Disease. They are now known as plaques and tangles. No one is certain exactly how these clumps and knots form or why. That leaves us with the mystery of what causes Alzheimer's Disease. Inflammations were also found in the brains of those who died of this disease. This leads to speculation that they are your body's answer to injury or infection.
What are the risks? Its likely more than one factor will increase the chances of developing Alzheimer's Disease.
Gender and age seem to be the primary factor with women developing the Alzheimer's Disease more than men, and people over 65 are primary candidates for developing the Alzheimer's Disease. Women have the higher statistic because typically they live longer.
Some Alzheimer's Disease research analysts are conducting tests to discover if Alzheimer's can be caused by environmental factors because of aluminum found in the brain of these patients. There is aluminum in drinking water, deodorant, and many other products. Right now, there is no evidence that aluminum causes Alzheimer's Disease.
Alzheimer's Disease research analysts are also looking at head injuries and Alzheimer's Disease. For instance, boxers and others who have had trauma to the head or had a prolonged loss of consciousness have developed Alzheimer's Disease. This is debated by studies that found there is a correlation, and others that found none.
Hormone replacement treatment has also been studied to see if there is a connection to hormones and Alzheimer's Disease. Again, the studies are at odds with one group stating there is an increased risk factor, and the other finding that it may prevent the disease.
Alzheimer's Disease research analysts state the same lifestyle that puts you at risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol will also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.
Keeping your body physically healthy is not your only concern when it comes to Alzheimer's Disease. You must also keep your mind alert and healthy as well. Studies have decided that keeping your mind alert and stimulated throughout your life can help you avoid Alzheimer's Disease in your later years. It is not clear if higher education and more mental activity helps to protect you from this disease, but Alzheimer's Disease does affect those who do not keep mentally alert and keep feeding the brain. Some have suggested that those with higher education have a greater reserve to draw on when they are older.
Finally, a study from the Alzheimer's Disease research analysts suggests that Alzheimer's Disease can run in families because of mutations in one specific gene.
Because there isn't one factor a specialist can point to and say, "That causes Alzheimer's Disease." The most important thing that you can do as an adult is to keep your body and mind as healthy and active as you can. By stretching your mind, keeping it active and alert are important ingredients to living life to the fullest. Alzheimer's Disease is terrible and frustrating for a patient, and equally upsetting for the family or caregiver.
If someone you love has Alzheimer's Disease and they are being cared for at home, give the caregiver a break now and then. Provide for someone to give them a little time to go out, renew their bodies. It isn't easy to decide to care for a loved one at home with Alzheimer's Disease it takes love, patience, and understanding. If you are one of those caregivers, there may be support groups in your area to help you deal with the day-to-day business of caring for your loved one, and keeping yourself healthy as well.