What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease and is one of the most common kinds of dementia.
Our brains are made up of billions of tiny nerve cells which connect to each other. However, if you have Alzheimer’s Disease the connections between the cells are lost, which results in the loss of brain tissue and causes nerve cells to die1.
The brain is responsible for sending signals between cells. Those who suffer with Alzheimer’s have less ‘chemical messengers’ in their brain, so the signals are not passed on as well1.
The statistics of those who suffer with dementia is increasingly high and the figure is set to rise in the foreseeable future. Over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK. Studies states that one million people in the UK will have dementia in 2025 and this will increase to two million by 2050.2
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are divided into 3 main stages; early symptoms, middle-stage symptoms and later symptoms.
In the early stages, the main symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory lapses which can increase anxiety or agitation. In the early stages, it is often mistaken that the person is forgetful and aren’t aware they are suffering with Alzheimer’s. The typical signs are listed below:3
- forget about recent conversations or events
- misplace items
- forget the names of places and objects
- have trouble thinking of the right word
- ask questions repetitively
- show poor judgement
- become less flexible and more hesitant to try new things
As the disease progresses, the symptoms will gradually get worse. Memory problems will get worse which can make it difficult for the person who suffers with the disease to remember names of their loved ones, recent events and even remember birthdays and anniversaries. More symptoms such as the following will develop;3
- increasing confusion and disorientation – for example, getting lost, or wandering and not knowing what time of day it is
- obsessive, repetitive or impulsive behaviour
- delusions or feeling paranoid and suspicious about carers or family members
- problems with speech or language
- disturbed sleep
- changes in mood
- difficulty performing simple tasks and may need additional support e.g. help with eating, getting dressed etc.
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the symptoms become increasingly severe and patients will need full-time care and assistance. It will be problematic for the individual to do basic everyday tasks such as getting changed, going to the toilet, getting washed and feeding themselves. They could lose their speech, and have difficulty eating and swallowing which can result in severe weight loss.
How Randox can help
Randox want to help. Our Evidence immunoanalyser has revolutionised laboratory screening worldwide with the capability to process 3,960 tests per hour and a sample capacity of 360. We offer the Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) Array for Alzheimer’s genetic risk assessment, which is a research use-only product developed for the Evidence Investigator. The ApoE4 Array measures both total ApoE protein levels and ApoE4 protein levels directly from plasma samples and using a ratio can classify patients as negative or positive for ApoE4. In turn we can then assess their risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
For further information about the Randox Alzheimer’s Array or our Evidence Investigator, please email email@example.com