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What exactly is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive form of dementia. Symptoms worsen over time. Just like coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease, Alzheimer's is a type of brain disease. Further, it is irreversible and there is no cure for it. Neurons responsible for memory, thinking and problem-solving are slowly destroyed as the disease progresses. Ultimately, it is fatal.

One of the most interesting aspects of the disease is that for more than 20 years the changes happen unnoticeably.

Alzheimer’s progression starts as early as the age of 18.

Table of Content
After whom is Alzheimer’s disease named?
What is the Alzheimer’s Continuum?
A word of the author
List of Resources
About the Author

After whom is Alzheimer’s disease named?

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. He was a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. Dr. Alzheimer discovered unusual changes in the brain tissues of a woman. She died of an unknown mental illness. The examination of her brain post mortem showed tangled bundles of fibers (now called tau or tangles) and abnormal clumps (our days called amyloid plaques).

Before the woman died she had various symptoms ranging from memory loss all the way to unpredictable behavior. Even language problems occurred.

The amyloid plaques and the tau found in her brain are still considered the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.

In my “All you need to know about Alzheimer’s” guide you can learn more about the functionality of neurons. And why Alzheimer’s comes with various symptoms like unpredictable behavior.

What is the Alzheimer’s Continuum?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. This implies that symptoms worsen over time. Thus, the Alzheimer’s continuum can be explained in three broader phases. Those phases are (1) Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, (2) Mild Cognitive Impairment “MCI” due to Alzheimer’s disease, and (3) Dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The last phase can be divided into three additional stages:

(3.1) Mild Dementia due to Alzheimer’s,

(3.2) Moderate Dementia due to Alzheimer’s, and

(3.3) Severe Dementia due to Alzheimer’s.

Every stage describes the severity of the symptoms and the implications for the everyday life of the individual.

For example, while you do not need a caregiver in the first two phases, you certainly will need one in the final stages.

This is because of symptoms severely interfering with day-to-day activities.

In the “All you need to know about Alzheimer’s” guide, you can learn about the various symptoms that occur in each of the stages.

A word of the author

Suffering from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia is not part of aging. Losing one’s ability to think and solve problems is just the tip of the iceberg. Living with Alzheimer’s is difficult for the

individual as well as their family members.

Normal everyday tasks like going shopping become more and more difficult.

At the late stage going to the toilet alone is not manageable without the help of a caregiver.

The financial implications are extreme.

Nursing homes for just one Alzheimer’s patient can start at 6.000 Dollar and go easily to 8.000 Dollar.

Thus, the disease can put a lot of families in financial problems. It is vital to know about the condition and arrange as early as possible for proper help.

Caregiving is very demanding.

And it is time-consuming.

List of Resources

Patric Pförtner

B. Sc. Psychology

Hi, my name is Patric Pfoertner and I graduated 2020 from the NBU. Currently, I work and study in Germany. My specialisations are Cognitive Psychology paired with a good slack of Clinical Psychology. Just this year I started publishing my research in the CBB Journal. Feel free to read about it at ResearchGate. Otherwise, click the other button to read my full CV.

About Author ResearchGate

P.S.: I am available for psychological consultation, too.