Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that destroys memory and cognitive skills. The disease starts slowly but worsens over time until patients lose the ability to carry out daily tasks and have difficulty even recognizing loved ones. Alzheimer’s disease not only devastates the individuals diagnosed, but also takes a major toll on caregivers and families. As the disease progresses, patients require constant care and supervision.

While Alzheimer’s cannot yet be cured or reversed, researchers are making advances in detecting and treating the disease earlier. With no current cure, the best hope is to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms and help families manage the challenges it poses. Raising awareness and supporting patients, caregivers and ongoing research are crucial steps toward confronting this growing public health crisis.


  • Memory Loss
  • Difficulty with Problem
  • Confusion and Disorientation
  • Decline in Judgment
  • Language Problems
  • Withdrawal from Social Activities

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Plaques
  • Genetics
  • Tangles
  • Brain Changes:
  • Lifestyle and Environmental Factors
  • Loss of connections

It’s important to note that while these factors are associated with an increased risk, they do not guarantee the development of Alzheimer’s. The disease remains complex and multifactorial, requiring further research to fully understand its causes.


Cognitive tests are used to assess memory, judgment, reasoning, and other thinking skills. Commonly used cognitive tests include:

  • Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)
  • Memory Impairment Screen (MIS)

Brain imaging provides a picture of the structure of the brain. Some imaging techniques used for Alzheimer’s diagnosis include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Amyloid PET imaging

While Alzheimer’s cannot be officially diagnosed until after death through autopsy, doctors can make a diagnosis with over 90% accuracy based on medical history, cognitive assessments, imaging, and by ruling out other potential causes. Early diagnosis allows patients to plan for the future and start treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

There are a few options available for treating Alzheimer’s disease, though currently no cure exists. The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of symptoms, improve quality of life, and address behavioral challenges.

Medications- The FDA has approved several medications to treat cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. These medications work by increasing neurotransmitter levels in the brain to compensate for neuron loss. The medications may alleviate confusion, improve cognition and memory to a small extent, and delay symptom progression for 6-12 months in some individuals.

Therapy- Non-drug therapies can also help manage Alzheimer’s symptoms. Cognitive and memory exercises may help strengthen neuronal connections. Occupational therapy teaches techniques to manage daily activities, while physical therapy exercises improve mobility and balance. Music therapy and art therapy provide cognitive stimulation and sensory engagement. Pet therapy, massage, and aromatherapy may have calming effects.

Caregiving- Alzheimer’s progresses, and patients require increasing assistance from caregivers for daily tasks, safety supervision, and managing behavioral issues. Caregivers should utilize communication strategies like speaking slowly, giving visual cues, focusing on pleasurable activities, and redirecting to avoid upsets. Modifying the home environment, establishing routines, using written reminders, and assistive technology can help with daily functioning.

Progression of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease can be categorized into three stages: mild (early stage), moderate (middle stage), and severe (late stage). However, it’s essential to note that the progression of the disease is gradual, and there is no clear distinction between the stages. The rate of progression may vary from person to person.

  • In the mild stage, symptoms are subtle and often dismissed as normal age-related changes. The earliest, mildest symptoms include memory lapses, especially of recent events. The person may have difficulty remembering names, finding the right word, or following directions. They may get lost.
  • The moderate stage, also called mid-stage Alzheimer’s, is characterized by increased memory loss and confusion. Vocabulary shrinks, and the person has trouble recognizing family members and close friends.
  • In the severe or late stage, basic bodily functions like walking, sitting, and swallowing are impaired. Weight loss is typical as eating habits change. Most people in this stage need 24/7 supervision and assistance with all their daily needs including bathing, dressing, and toileting. Communication becomes difficult as their vocabulary is reduced to a few words.

Impact on Family:

The profound impact of Alzheimer’s disease on families is undeniable. It brings emotional strain, challenges in caregiving, financial burdens, and disrupts routines, drastically altering relationships and responsibilities. The burden of witnessing a loved one’s memory loss and personality changes can lead to feelings of grief, stress, and isolation within families.

Related Research

There is extensive ongoing research into Alzheimer’s disease, with the ultimate goal of finding ways to cure, treat, and prevent the condition. Some key areas of research focus include:

  • Clinical Trials-Several clinical trials are currently underway to test new drugs for Alzheimer’s, as well as non-drug approaches such as exercise, cognitive training, and dietary changes. Some drugs under testing target amyloid plaques in the brain, while others aim to address abnormalities in neurotransmitters or brain inflammation.
  • Lifestyle Interventions-Research is being conducted on the impact of lifestyle factors such as exercise, cognitive stimulation, stress management, diet, social interaction, and sleep on the prevention and slowing down of Alzheimer’s onset and progression. While evidence is limited, healthy lifestyle choices are encouraged since they benefit overall health.

Support for Alzheimer’s disease

Support is crucial for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. As the disease progresses, patients require increasing levels of care and support.

Care Facilities-Specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care facilities can provide needed support and care. These facilities have staff trained in caring for Alzheimer’s patients and programming tailored to their needs. Some options include:

  • Assisted living communities with memory care units
  • Skilled nursing facilities with secured Alzheimer’s
  • Adult day-care centres

It’s important to look for facilities with specialized training and programming when choosing care options. Visiting potential facilities can help determine if they are a good fit.

Support Groups-Support groups can provide emotional and practical support for both Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Participants in support groups can share experiences and feelings with others facing similar challenges. Some options include:

  • Alzheimer’s Association support groups
  • Online support communities
  • Caregiver support groups

Joining a support group can help patients and families feel less alone on their journey with Alzheimer’s disease. Support groups play a valuable role in educating and empowering those impacted.