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Video: Alzheimer's Dementia
Alzheimer's is the most common form of degenerative dementia. Around 60 to 80 percent of all primary dementia cases are attributed to the Alzheimer's type. Women are more often affected than men. The mental degradation is caused by pathological changes in the brain.
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- Different causes
- Individual course of illness
- Effects on everyday life
It is believed that two types of abnormal protein deposits in the brain are responsible for Alzheimer's dementia:
- the senile plaques and
- the neurofibrils or tangles.
These protein deposits destroy the nerve lines between the brain cells and impair the chemical processes for the transmission of information in the brain. The deposits take place before the onset of clinical symptoms. The death of nerve cells in the brain begins in the hippocampus and spreads slowly and often unnoticed to other brain regions for years.
Those places in the brain that are responsible for memory, the ability to think, spatial orientation, the planning of complex actions and language are usually the first to be affected by the disturbances. As a result, memories, later learned behavior and logical connections can no longer be called up by the sick person. The brain tissue recedes as a result of the breakdown processes. The brains of people with Alzheimer's dementia are on average ten to 20 percent lighter than those of healthy people.
Individual course of illness
The symptoms of dementia increase as the disease progresses. There can also be changes in behavior and personality. On average, those affected live around eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but in some cases they live 20 years and longer. The symptoms can also overlap in the stages depending on the individual course of the disease. Any concomitant diseases also play a role in the course of the disease. Alzheimer's dementia can also occur in connection with other diseases that cause dementia, often also in connection with a vascular brain disorder (vascular dementia). Further information: Diagnosis of dementia.
Despite the mental decline, certain accesses to the acquired skills and life experiences remain until death, as well as the ability of Alzheimer's patients to perceive their outside world and to experience positive or negative feelings.
Effects on everyday life
As the disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult for those affected to carry out everyday activities independently. They always need more support. An understanding approach on the part of the caregivers is important. It is important to offer the sick people the necessary support, but also to promote their independence. It is important to consciously use the existing skills, to train them and to maintain personal responsibility for as long as possible. This strengthens the self-esteem of the sick and prevents conspicuous behavior.
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