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Alzheimer’s FAQs

Is Alzheimer’s Hereditary?

No one knows exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, but there is most certainly a genetic component. Just as your genes determine your eye or hair color, your genes can also determine whether or not you develop Alzheimer’s.

In cases of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s, if you display the mutated gene, then you will inherit this disease. The majority of cases are late-onset and do not appear to have clear family patterns. There are various potential factors involved and researchers believed that genetic factors simply increase your risk.

What is a Biomarker?

You often hear the term ‘biomarker’ when discussing Alzheimer’s, as it’s an important indicator. A biomarker is something within your body that can be measured, allowing doctors to see whether or not a disease is present or absent.

In some cases, biomarkers also determine whether you’re at risk for developing a disease later on. Just as elevated blood sugar levels are a marker of diabetes, the results of one’s fluid and brain imaging tests are studied as Alzheimer’s biomarkers. The main two biomarkers are clear levels of beta-amyloid accumulation and nerve cell damage.

What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment?

When you display symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, this simply means that your memory and other thinking skills are hindered more greatly than normal for people of your age. Although you may notice these impairments, they will not interfere with daily functioning and you can still live independently.

Many individuals who suffer from mild cognitive impairment will develop Alzheimer’s, however, this is not always the case. There are plenty of problems that can yield symptoms of cognitive impairment, including medication, reduced blood flow to the brain, stress, and more. This is why it’s critical to speak to your doctor as soon as symptoms surface.

What is the Life Expectancy of Alzheimer’s Patients?

Each individual case is unique and some progress less quickly than others. In turn, the time from a diagnosis to death widely varies. For some, they live as little as three years while others live more than a decade. The age in which you’re diagnosed tends to play a key role. Someone diagnosed at 60, for instance, is expected to live longer than someone who was diagnosed after the age of 80.

What Activities are Good For Individuals Living with Alzheimer’s?

Staying active when faced with Alzheimer’s can bring great pleasure to those affected. Various activities can help reduce anxiety, increase engagement, increase positive well-being, and even stir memories. When it comes to the best activities, that will really depend on the individual.

The key is choosing meaningful memories, not just activities to kill time. What interests did the individual enjoy in the past? Always keep safety in mind, as well as the ways in which activities will affect behavior and sensory perception. Meaning, don’t plan activities that may overwhelm the individual.

They may have once loved roller coasters, but that may not be the best idea when someone is confused and lacking awareness. Choosing activities that soothe and relax, such as art, playing music, reading, working on puzzles, watching family videos, caring for a garden, baking, or even tidying the house.

References

NIH. (2015). Alzheimer’s Disease. Frequently Asked Questions. Senior Health. Retrieved from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimersdisease/faq/faqlist.html#a13

Wegerer, J. (2014). 10 Stimulating Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients. Alzheimer’s.net. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-03-06/stimulating-activities-for-alzheimers-patients/

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