Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that impedes the brain’s memory and ability to function. More commonly known as the memory loss disease, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is worldwide.  A person grappling with Alzheimer’s disease, the brain cells start to deplete to a stage where the brain’s size shrinks and the person’s memory is completely diminished. In Alzheimer’s disease, nervous system development is  severely affected. 


Who Does Alzheimer’s affect? 

Generally, it is people above the age of 65 who are at the risk of having this illness. This is because, with ageing, the brain shrinks along with loss of neurons. However, in case of Alzheimer’s patients, the neurons start degenerating rapidly, thus causing cognitive impairment and memory loss. Apart from this,  genetics too can be a factor that leads to Alzheimer’s. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family, you’re at a risk of it developing in you too. Neurological problems, such as stroke, head injuries, and other health conditions too, can affect the brain and lead to Alzheimer’s. In some serious cases, severe Alzheimer’s can lead to hemorrhage in the brain. 


Neuropathology of Alzheimer’s Disease 

Neurofibrillary tangles and Beta-amyloid plaques are mainly responsible for the damage caused to the brain cells. Apart from this, another important feature of this neurological disorder is depletion of nerves and loss of connection between the neurons. With time, the brain eventually shrinks and its normal way of working is impeded. Depending upon the intensity and severity of the disease, there are three types of Alzheimer’s disease – mild, moderate, and severe. A person goes through each of these stages as time progresses. 

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s intensify over the years. Some of them are given below- 

  • Lack of energy or the zest to work
  • Forgetting to carry out simple tasks
  • Withdrawal from social life, signs of depression 
  • Trouble understanding or interpreting words, symbols, etc.
  • Struggling in solving problems, remembering directions 
  • Slurred speech, and trouble putting words to thoughts 
  • Confusion about the time and place, difficulty in remembering faces. 
  • Wandering
  • Delusions


How does Alzheimer’s affect the body?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms keep getting worse as time passes by. While the cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s disease are known to everyone, very few know how debilitating effect Alzheimer’s can have on the person’s body. Alzheimer’s disease kills you slowly over a period of time. It doesn’t hit you all at once, it is a slow burn, which at first affects the memory and gradually all of you.  Hence, many a time, one may miss the early signs of this disorder. 


Some of the physical challenges that a patient may notice are – 

    • Loss of balance and poor coordination 
    • Trouble in movements such as standing, sitting 
    • Shuffling or dragging feet while walking 
  • Weak or stiffened muscles 
  • Fatigue 
  • Problems with bladder and bowels 
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing food 
  • Seizures or twitches 

Physical symptoms start showing up during the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s. 


Alzheimer’s and Phantom pain

Phantom pain is a condition where one perceives or imagines the pain from the part of the body which no longer exists. It is a common condition amongst dementia patients to perceive pain. The degeneration of brain cells makes it difficult for Alzheimer’s patients to explain or articulate pain. There’s no specific diagnosis of phantom pain, doctors can still identify them and treat them. 


Autonomic Dysfunction and Alzheimer’s 

Autonomic dysfunction is the medical condition where the nerves in the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) are damaged. This condition is usually common in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Autonomic nervous system regulates several involuntary movements in the body such as digestion, heart rate, respiratory rate, urination, etc. The effects of this disease can range from mild symptoms to severe life threatening conditions. 


Some of the symptoms of Autonomic Dysfunction are – 

  1. Dizziness and fainting
  2. Urinary problems, bladder issues, incontinence, etc.
  3. Sexual problems in both men and women
  4. Sweating abnormalities which indirectly affect the regulation of temperature in the body
  5. Blurry vision, sluggish pupil reaction. 
  6. Difficulty in digesting and other digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea  
  7. Problems with heart rate. Exercise intolerance where there is difficulty in maintaining heart rate. 
  8. Tremors and muscle weakness 

Researchers have observed that Alzheimer’s disease can lead to autonomic dysfunction. The nerve damage in this disease interrupts the messages sent between the brain and the other organs, as well as areas of the autonomic nervous system. It is necessary to seek consultation from a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Consult the best neurologist in Delhi for quick recovery and enhanced treatment.  


Alzheimer’s is a disease where the rapid loss of neurons affects the person, both mentally and physically. Simple, routine activities become a challenge. Going through the day, constantly forgetting stuff can make the patient moody, and frustrated. Living with Alzheimer’s is a difficult task. Not only is the person’s ability to remember is lost, there are other functions in the body that are impaired. It becomes necessary for the caretaker and the family members to give attention and care for people with Alzheimer’s. 


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