Alzheimer’s disease is a condition characterized by progressive deterioration of the neurological function abilities. Women are more prone to the disease as compared to men. It is important to recognize the early signs of Alzheimer’s in women so as to help slow down its progress and allow for counseling, treatment options, and family support, thereby enhancing the quality of life in affected women.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s in women
The first signs of Alzheimer’s may be very subtle and very difficult to recognize. In most cases, a close friend or family members may detect the forgetfulness, lowered initiative, and irritability in the affected individual. However, the condition is only diagnosed by a doctor after many tests.
- Memory loss:Slow memory loss is one of the key characteristics of Alzheimer’s, particularly for recent events. The woman patient may not recall events that occurred a few hours or a few minutes ago. However, she will remember things that happened several years ago.She may keep forgetting appointments, words, conversations; experience confusion when handling a checkbook or managing finances; and misplace common items like reading glasses.Lowered understanding and reasoning capabilities may be noticed with the passage of time. In the end, she may lose interest in all regular pursuits.
- Emotional instability: Women with Alzheimer’s may often experience varied emotions at the slightest provocation, which fluctuate between laughter and tears, and aggression and apathy. Display of impulsive and irregular behavior along with antisocial and uninhibited actions is also quite common. Affected women may neglect personal hygiene and their table manners may decline. In certain cases, they may even turn violent against, family members, friends, and/or caregivers.
- Overall confusion:Women in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may have issues with space perception and vision. They may be unable to express themselves correctly and often forget words when speaking or writing. They may not be able to use the correct word for a particular object.
- Early physical symptoms: With the worsening of the brain functions, women with Alzheimer’s may elicit physical abnormalities as well. There may be difficulties in co-ordination of movements and muscles, leading to problems in carrying out even simple tasks like walking. Increased muscle stiffness may also limit movement.
- Withdrawal from life: The early stages of Alzheimer’s can prove to be a difficult period in the lives of affected women. They may be conscious of the gradual decline in their mental capabilities. It may cause them to withdraw from social contact and even family members. In most cases, women with Alzheimer’s also suffer from depression.
Causes of Alzheimer’s in women
Women are at greater risk to developing Alzheimer’s as compared to men. As per certain studies, older women are more susceptible to the disease due to estrogen deficiency after menopause. Other risk factors which increase the susceptibility towards Alzheimer’s include a family history of the disease, the presence of certain genes like APOE epsilon4 allele, unregulated diabetes, elevated cholesterol or hypertension, and even low levels of education.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s in women
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment is aimed at slowing down the mental decline via drugs, and changes in diet and lifestyle. The doctor may also suggested intake of ginko or Vitamin E supplements.