ALZHEIMERS & DEMENTIA

DOING WHATS BEST FOR YOUR BRAIN

Alzheimer’s Limited Slumber

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

Many people today live with the reality of knowing someone with Alzheimer’s.  This terrible disease seems able to steal our soul and obliterate our personality. It does not. It only has the power to lock it up for a season, until He who made it calls it back from its troubled temporary slumber.

God knows what you’re going through and His heart is touched by your suffering.  When something bad happens to us or to those we love, it’s natural for us to ask, "Why has God let this happen?"

We live in a fallen, imperfect world, and life is riddled with sorrow and pain. As the Bible says about our years on earth, “their span is but trouble and sorrow” (Psalm 90:10).

The real issue, you see, isn’t why bad things happen.  

It should be how we should react to them. Will we react in anger and bitterness or will we respond in faith and trust?  Anger is a dead-end road–it only hurts us and those around us, and doesn’t solve anything.  Faith gives us hope and hope for the present and hope for the future.

50 million people Worldwide are living with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

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Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.  and the most common form of dementia.  Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.  In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear later in life. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s.

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). With MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but not all of them do so. Some may even revert to normal cognition.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from person to person. For many, decline in nonmemory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment may signal the very early stages of the disease. Researchers are studying biomarkers (biological signs of disease found in brain images, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood) to detect early changes in the brains of people with MCI and in cognitively normal people who may be at greater risk for Alzheimer’s. More research is needed before these techniques can be used broadly and routinely to diagnose Alzheimer’s in a health care provider’s office.

 

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10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's 

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer's or other dementia. Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are 10 warning signs and symptoms. If you notice any of them, don't ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.

1.  Memory loss that disrupts daily life

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

What's a typical age-related change?
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

2.  Challenges in planning or solving problems

Some people living with dementia may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

What's a typical age-related change?
Making occasional errors when managing finances or household bills.

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks 

People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

What's a typical age-related change?
Occasionally needing help to use microwave settings or to record a TV show.

4.  Confusion with time or place

People living with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

What's a typical age-related change?
Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. This may lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.

What's a typical age-related change?
Vision changes related to cataracts.

       6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

People living with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object or use the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock").

What's a typical age-related change?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

7.  Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

A person living with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. He or she may accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses.

What's a typical age-related change?
Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.

8.  Decreased or poor judgment

Individuals may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money or pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

What's a typical age-related change?
Making a bad decision or mistake once in a while, like neglecting to change the oil in the car.

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities

A person living with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation. As a result, he or she may withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements. They may have trouble
keeping up with a favorite team or activity.

What's a typical age-related change?
Sometimes feeling uninterested in family or social obligations.

10.  Changes in mood and personality

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personality changes. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, with friends or when out of their
comfort zone.

What's a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

What to do if you notice these signs?

If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's in yourself or someone you know, don't ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.

With early detection, you can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer, as well as increase your chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.

 

Get checked. Early detection matters. 

If you notice one or more signs in yourself or another person, it can be difficult to know what to do. It’s natural to feel uncertain or nervous about discussing these changes with others. Voicing worries about your own health might make them seem more “real.” Or, you may fear upsetting someone by sharing observations about changes in his or her abilities or behavior. However, these are significant health concerns that should be evaluated by a doctor, and it’s important to take action to figure out what’s going on.

 

Stats and figures are from nit.gov and air.org.

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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

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