It is always best if one can identify Alzheimer’s prior to when it has reached a severe state. This article focuses on the aspect of fatigue as an early symptom of the onset of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association reported in 2015 “Every 65 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease and over 5.7 million Americans have the disease in the United States.”
Though memory loss and lack of concentration are symptoms of the onset of Alzheimer’s, we see then that it is important to note that low energy (fatigue) is also an important marker for Alzheimer’s onset. Basically, low energy fatigue can be a symptom of brain atrophy, otherwise known as cerebral atrophy. Atrophy is when the affected brain cells have been destroyed and can no longer communicate. This can be the result of diseases such as stroke or Alzheimer’s. In case you question whether a stroke is a disease, the American Stroke Institute defines a stroke as “a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain.”
Atrophy can either be:
which means the brain has shrunk, or
where only certain portions of the brain are affected with a decrease in function that area of the brain control.
WHAT’S GOING ON TO HELP INDENTIFY OR PREVENT BRAIN ATROPHY?
The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) “funds research looking at many of the diseases and disorders that cause cerebral atrophy. Understanding the biological mechanisms that cause neurons to die in the brain will help researchers find ways to prevent, treat, and even cure the diseases that lead to cerebral atrophy.”
In June 2016, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted a test which result was summarized as follows: “A new study found that Normal older adults who experience excessive sleepiness during the day or significant fatigue may have more brain atrophy than expected for their age, particularly in areas of the brain that are more susceptible to aging and Alzheimer's disease.” This was accented by the fact that these individuals also had “lower cognitive scores and more medical comorbidities.” The good news about this study is that it helps us to understand the importance of indentifying individuals at higher susceptibility or risk for dementia. IT IS IMPORTAN TO INDENTIFY THIS PRIOR TO SYMPTOM ONSET so that appropriate interventions can be undertaken early to prevent progression to dementia”.
Loved ones and friends can help the elderly in their lives by watching for approaching symptoms, such as fatigue and other onset symptoms learning how to assist and comfort those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.
This has been the second in a three part series. Watch for:
Alzheimer’s and Sleep Part Three: Memory Care
For more information on How Sleep Works please visit the comprehensive site Tucks.com
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