Alzheimer | What is Aging and is it the same as Alzheimer?
As the years go by, you can expect gradual changes in your body. How your body ages depends partly on your genetics but your lifestyle choices have a greater effect on how well -or not- your body ages. This brings the question: When does ageing begin? Well, over time, ageing affects the cells of every major organ of your body. In some people, changes can start early and are more visible.
The impact of ageing on our health and function varies in severity. For example, lung tissue starts to lose elasticity around the age of 20 and the muscles of the rib cage slowly begin to shrink. This has led several researchers to say that ageing begins at around 20 years. Some, however, argue that the process begins after the onset of other changes in our bodies caused by puberty at around 12 years.
Some of the effects associated with ageing are loss of skin elasticity, thinning of hair, difficulty hearing and seeing, loss of sleep, loss of bone density, slowing down of metabolism, memory changes among others.
Alzheimer’s disease is a general term for a type of dementia, a condition in which a person develops some cognitive problems resulting from changes in the brain. It is thought to be caused by the buildup of toxins in the brain. At the onset of the disease, people have a hard time remembering recent events, though they might remember past events clearly. With time, the condition deteriorates and other symptoms crop up such as difficulty completing tasks, trouble with words, misplacing things, trouble with visual perception, dramatic mood swings and physical problems.
When it comes to brain function, Alzheimer’s and normal ageing are quite similar, only that people with Alzheimer’s disease are just experiencing ageing faster than others. People with Alzheimer’s can forget their loved ones and even how to do simple tasks that they have been doing for years such as feeding themselves and using the toilet.
Alzheimer’s disease usually affects people over the age of 65. Someone suffering from the disease may live with it for a few years or even a few decades. While ageing affects both women and men equally – though the signs may show earlier in women, women are more likely to have Alzheimer’s than men. Research shows some evidence that people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol have a higher chance of getting Alzheimer’s. Head injuries, even early in life may also be a cause. However, the most common risks associated with Alzheimer’s are being older and if you have a history of the disease in your family.
While normal ageing may take several years for you to experience a noticeable decline in cognitive function, with Alzheimer’s, one you have the disease, people will be able to notice the signs within a couple of months and the curve only goes downward from there. Research shows that a good diet and regular exercise – both physical and mental can slow down the effects of ageing and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.