Nearly 6 million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition first documented in the early 1900s by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. Today, more is known about this progressive condition in terms of care and management, although it’s still not curable or reversible. However, the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report does mention some of the common causes and contributing factors associated with this condition. Here are the top ones.
There’s compelling evidence suggesting the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is greater for a senior with a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, who also has or had the condition. It’s still not known why this is the case, but it could involve the next cause on this list.
Certain genetic issues may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, even small gene changes can increase the odds of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Specifically, late-onset Alzheimer’s, which usually affects seniors 60 and over, could be linked to a gene variant called APOE ɛ4. However, not everyone with this genetic variation develops Alzheimer’s.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, help is just a phone call away. 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 Lincoln homecare services provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t known, but toxic events happen in the brain that damage neurons, which are special cells that transmit nerve signals. Researchers have identified two specific protein-related issues that may also contribute to Alzheimer’s-related issues.
• Beta-amyloids – These are leftover protein fragments that were previously part of larger proteins. They form clusters and affect brain cell communication.
• Tau protein changes – In seniors with Alzheimer’s, beneficial tau proteins change shape and form tangles that disrupt the transport system that maintains the flow of information in the brain.
Down syndrome isn’t a specific cause of Alzheimer’s. However, many people with this condition develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. It’s believed the changes in chromosomes related to Down syndrome contribute to the presence of extra protein fragments (beta-amyloids), which could explain why there’s a link between this condition and Alzheimer’s.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to the natural decrease in memory and thinking skills some people experience as they get older. Because MCI is mild, it doesn’t significantly affect an individual’s ability to function. While MCI isn’t considered a form of dementia, it does increase the risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s disease.
There’s evidence suggesting prior issues with head trauma could increase the’ risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This isn’t always the case, but periodic monitoring following head trauma could help seniors and their caregivers spot early signs of cognitive impairment.
Aging adults who need help managing mental and physical health issues can benefit from the assistance of a highly trained professional caregiver. The type of elder care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
Having a history of sleep problems can also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, according to results from recent research. Correcting persistent sleep problems sooner rather than later may reduce this risk.
There’s also research from multiple sources suggesting certain lifestyle factors put some individuals at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s later in life. The main culprits include:
- Excess body weight
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Poorly managed diabetes or high blood pressure
Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality Alzheimer’s care. Lincoln families can rely on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Using our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while promoting cognitive health. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 916.226.3737.