Alzheimer’s disease: general information

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease, which involve different kinds of progressive changes in the brain, thus causing loss of intellectual abilities of the individual and social value. This is a social disorder with conduct to another disorder, which determine the state known as dementia. Dementias is a loss of cognitive abilities of a subject – impaired memory, concentration and capacity to make judgments, impoverishment of language, loss of sense of orientation. This state lasts longer than 6 months, without altering consciousness and affects social and professional efficiency of the individual.

In European countries it is estimated that Alzheimer’s disease commonly occurs in people older than 85 years, 2-3% of cases occur in the age of 60 years and 6% in persons over 75 years. According to statistics, the incidence of mental disorders increased from 605.2 persons per 100,000 inhabitants in 1975 to 883.3 persons/100.000 inhabitants in 1993, without having data on cases of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia: of all patients with dementia, 50-60% had Alzheimer type. The second is vascular dementia (10-30%). According to statistics, the two major forms of dementia are responsible for approximately 75% of all cases.

In 1907, the German doctor Alois Alzheimer was the first to describe this medical condition, a 51-year-old woman who suffered from dementia 4 years and half. He called this condition “forgotten disease”.

Signs and symptoms. The first signs are loss of information and reproducing them. While the subject becomes aware, his intellectual capacity decrease, hence the possibility of installing depressive character. For 2-3 years, the memory deficit may be “masked” by putting more effort, concealment , avoiding social contexts. With an increased memory deficit, is reduced the ability to focus, abstraction, organization, etc.. The subject needs help in usual activities (eg payment of bills, forming a phone number).

Symptoms which may lead us thinking that a person is suffering from this disease are memory impairment, language, inability to perform various motor activities, inability to recognize and identify objects around, etc. – cognitive symptoms. There are some non-cognitive symptoms such as: restlessness, hallucinations, depression or eating disorders linked.

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