Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'
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An ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, Sir Tony Robinson recognises that “when you have a terrible experience, there’s very little you can do on your own – large organisations can do a lot more”. Sir Robinson elaborated: “Both my parents had Alzheimer’s, so for about 15 years, Alzheimer’s was the main thing in my life, apart from my work and my kids. “Towards the end of my mum’s life, I made a documentary called Me And My Mum around the issues surrounding dementia and care homes, and the reaction was extraordinary,” he told The Irish News.
“I got so many heartfelt, handwritten letters from carers and people with dementia saying that their situation was ghastly.”
In a candid interview with The Express, when speaking about Alzheimer’s, Sir Robinson said: “Most of the time I feel pretty fatalistic about it.”
He did, however, mention that “getting involved with things socially, being very active, eating decent food, [and] not getting p****d” can keep the condition at bay.
“That’s the kind of life I lead anyway,” he said; as such, Sir Robinson is doing all that he can to minimise his risk of the progressive condition.
As the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease occurs when the connection between nerve cells are lost.
The Alzheimer’s Society explained: “This is because proteins build up and form abnormal structures called ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’.
“Eventually nerve cells die and brain tissue is lost… a progressive disease, this means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged.”
In the early stages of the condition, symptoms can be ever so mild that they can be overlooked.
While no one’s experience of Alzheimer’s will be exactly the same, there are some common threads.
For example, one of the first signs of the condition is experiencing memory issues.
To elaborate, there will be difficulty with recalling recent events and learning new information.
“This is because early on in Alzheimer’s the damage is usually to a part of the brain called the hippocampus,” the charity expanded.
During the early stages of the disease, while recent recall could be affected, they will still be able to remember events from decades prior.
Subtle warning signs of Alzheimer’s might include:
- Losing keys and glasses around the house
- Forgetting names of friends
- Struggling to find the right words for conversation
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Forgetting appointments or significant dates.
Other issues with thinking, reasoning, language, and perception can develop.
For instance, in terms of speech, a person with Alzheimer’s might start repeating themselves or struggle to follow a conversation.
When it comes to visuospatial skills, going up and down stairs, or parking the car, may become more difficult.
This is because the ability to see things in three dimensions and to judge distances is reduced.
Furthermore, a person with Alzheimer’s could begin to feel confused during their waking hours, losing track of the time and days.
Sequential tasks may also become more difficult to carry out, such as following a recipe.
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