Alzheimer’s disease is the most widespread form of mental deterioration among older members of the population. It increasingly impairs parts of the brain associated with memory, intelligence, language, behavior, and judgment. The effects of the disease differ from one person to the next. Some may still function quite well until the late stages of the disorder, while others may be unable to perform everyday activities in the early stages. Eventually, the disorder results in severe psychological and physical problems, resulting in death.
To date, researchers do not completely understand the factors that lead to Alzheimer’s. Recent findings, however, suggests there could be numerous conditions that affect each individual differently.
In healthy people, Amyloid-beta protein (a protein that traverses the walls of blood vessels that sustain the brain) exits in the brain normally. In those with Alzheimer’s, Ameloid-beta protein can’t travel through the blood-to-brain barrier and instead accumulates inside the brain, slowly leading to mental instability.
Another factor involved is the over consumption of sugar. Research reveals that excessive sugar intake contributes to a process called glycation, whereby glucose in the blood combines with the amino acids tryptophan, lysine, or arginine and results in a combination of sugar and protein molecules. This chemical reaction releases byproducts called Advanced Glycation End products (AGE). Researchers are convinced that glycation and the creation of AGE are responsible for the changes to proteins found inside the brain that causes Alzheimer’s disease.
Considering the effect of glycation, blood sugar problems including those associated with diabetes or excessive sugar intake are now considered risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Another risk factor that is usually acknowledged is age. In a group of people over 65, the number of those stricken by the disease grows twice every five years.
Family history is also responsible in a rare type of the disease called Familial Alzheimer’s Disease. This form usually strikes individuals who are 30 to 60 years old. It is an inherited condition. The more frequent type of the disease is called late-onset Alzheimer’s and it occurs late in life with no inheritance characteristic that could be readily observed.
Alzheimer’s is also linked to exposure and absorption of aluminum. Aluminum buildup inside the brain results from absorption of the element contained in drinking water, antiperspirant products, and antacids.
At this point, there is no available cure for Alzheimer’s. However, numerous therapies can slow down the disease. Thus, it is vital to be knowledgeable about the warning signs of the disease, as catching it early should provide ample chances for treatment, and even possibly stop its advancement.