Alzheimer’s is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, and it primarily affects seniors. Over time, this progressive disease affects a person’s memory, cognitive function, and personality. If you provide care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may be interested in these little-known facts about the disease.
1. A Test Might Detect Alzheimer’s 10 Years before Symptoms Appear
There’s a blood test that may be able to predict Alzheimer’s disease 10 years before symptoms occur. Researchers with the National Institute on Aging who created the test say it’s 100 percent accurate and focuses on a brain protein called IRS-1, which is believed to signal the earliest stages of the disease.
If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, help is just a phone call away. For reliable Alzheimer’s care, University Park families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of professional memory care designed to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life. In addition to Alzheimer’s care, we also provide comprehensive dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. From revolutionary care programs to compassionate and dedicated caregivers, we can meet all of your Alzheimer’s care needs.
2. Alzheimer’s Can Develop as Early as Age 30
Most people with Alzheimer’s have the late-onset type of the disease, with symptoms typically beginning in their mid-60s. However, about five percent of people with Alzheimer’s develop symptoms as early as the age of 30. Early-onset Alzheimer’s usually runs in families, and it can be difficult to diagnose because family members and doctors may not suspect Alzheimer’s in younger people.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease Is Associated with a Loss of Smell
While most people are familiar with many of the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including memory loss and personality changes, one of the most unique symptoms of the disease is a reduced ability to smell. Studies have found a lost sense of smell is often one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
4. Alzheimer’s Causes Significant Changes to Brain Structure
Alzheimer’s causes tissue loss and nerve cell death, affecting the entire brain. As the disease progresses, the brain shrinks, and nearly all brain function is affected. The cortex shrivels, which damages memory, planning, and thinking, but the most severe tissue loss is in the hippocampus, the region associated with the formation of new memories. Plaques, or clusters of protein fragments, build up between nerve cells in the brain, and nerve cell tangles form.
Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
5. Alzheimer’s Is Sometimes Called “The Third Type of Diabetes”
Some experts call Alzheimer’s “the third type of diabetes” because the same enzymes that lower blood sugar also reduce levels of amyloid, the protein associated with the brain plaques of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s believed that when these enzymes are too involved with high blood sugar, they cannot lower amyloid levels in the brain.
Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading University Park in-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (214) 363-3400 to learn more about our customized care plans.