The growing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a cause for concern in a lot of countries. In fact, more than 44 million people around the world already live with the condition with at least 5.5 million Americans being affected by it.
Alzheimer’s disease is even the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more patients than prostate and breast cancer combined.
But while memory loss is the biggest symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, the body actually goes through a lot of other changes as the disease progresses.
Medical experts are still baffled by what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease, but they believe that the disease begins with the buildup of tau and amyloid proteins in the brain.
As these proteins accumulate, they begin to form clumps called plaques and tangles, which kill healthy cells and affect normal brain function.
When this happens, the part of the brain that forms memories start to get damaged, which is why the memory gap is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease, although most individuals will still not opt to go to Alzheimer’s care facilities just because they can’t remember things.
As the disease continues to progress, the plaques and clusters will begin to affect parts of the brain responsible for bodily functions. This is why daily activities like eating, walking, taking a bath, and even talking will start to become harder to do.
Some of the most common physical changes that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may experience include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Difficulty standing up or sitting on a chair
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Shuffling or dragging feet when walking
- Difficulty controlling the bladder and bowel
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Uncontrollable twitches and seizures
According to a study, individuals who had a poor balance or those who walked slowly were most likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within the next six years.
These symptoms can also vary from person to person and their severity could also be different. For instance, some patients will manifest physical changes first before they experience memory loss. Others will also experience only a few of these symptoms in their lifetime.
The average life expectancy of a person with Alzheimer’s disease is about 4 to 8 years, but some have lived for up to 20 years after they were diagnosed with the disease.
The bottom line
There are still a lot of challenges in offering patients the best Alzheimer’s care possible. Good thing, Alzheimer’s care facilities are doing their best to make sure that patients suffering from the disease are given the care and guidance that they need while still providing them with as much independence as possible.
With the growing elderly population in the coming years, the need for these Alzheimer’s care facilities will surely grow even more to make sure that these patients are given the best quality of life possible even if their condition can’t be cured.
Fallbrook Assisted Living is proud to offer its services to Fremont, NE, and surrounding areas and cities: Arlington, Cedar Bluffs, Ames Nickerson, Fontanelle, Arlington, Leshara, Colon, and Hooper