Top Reasons to Take an Alzheimer’s DNA Test
Conducting a DNA test is a great way to get in touch with your heritage and genetics. From connecting with long-lost family to figuring out what sort of illnesses you may be predisposed to contract, genetics tests serve a lot of valuable purposes – and if you have reason to believe you might suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, you might want to consult an Alzheimer’s DNA test or Alzheimer’s DNA analysis to find out everything you can. Genetics tests that hone in on analyses of symptoms or conditions are great for anyone who knows that something runs in their family – or has a strong suspicion that an illness might eventually afflict them. Many of us are turning to the an Alzheimer’s genetics analysis for this very reason. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, so if you think you might be privy to it, you should gather as much preventative information as you can – beginning with an Alzheimer’s genetics analysis to determine where your risk actually lies.
Alzheimer’s Disease: The most common form of dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia: an umbrella term for loss of memory, language skills, problem-solving skills, and other neurological setbacks that tend to interfere with everyday life. Dementia mainly occurs in individuals over the age of 65 (with a few early onset exceptions), and although there are over 100 recognized forms of the illness, Alzheimer’s is by far the most common. Because there are so many types of dementia, it’s been difficult for medical researchers to determine a consistent list of causes – and even more difficult to figure out a cure for this debilitating disease. An Alzheimer’s DNA test can only show if you’re genetically predisposed to developing it at some point in your life. However, the overarching theme when it comes to what causes dementia is brain cell damage. Whether that’s from traumatic injury, changes in brain chemistry, medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies, excessive use of alcohol, or something else entirely, this means a person’s brain cells no longer have the ability to communicate with one another efficiently – and this can have a mild to major effect on someone’s thinking, speaking, behavioral and feeling patterns. There is no uniform approach to diagnosing someone with dementia: especially considering there are so many iterations of the disease. Instead, medical professionals rely on a combination of medical history, an Alzheimer’s genetics analysis or Alzheimer’s DNA test, physical examinations, and reported changes in everyday thinking, feeling, and behavior. Despite this mixed approach, medical professionals are largely accurate when diagnosing a person with dementia. Of these complex diagnoses, around 60-80 percent are reported as Alzheimer’s Disease. And remember that it’s also important to keep your doctor informed about the results of your Alzheimer’s DNA analysis.
Eight well-known individuals who’ve suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease
Many well-known people and celebrities have suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. Some, long before science would have afforded them the ability to conduct an Alzheimer’s genetics analysis. And although it’s a heartbreaking condition to have to deal with in the public eye, these eight individuals have helped the greater population identify Alzheimer’s Disease in themselves or their loved ones by spreading awareness to its symptoms.
- Rita Hayworth
Actress Rita Hayworth was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 1980. Her case is known for spreading awareness to the public, and increasing private funding for dementia research. She lived until age 68.
- Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2005, at 92 years old. Her case was one of severe mental impairment that came and went over the course of six years.
- Glen Campbell
Country musician Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at age 74. He lived until the age of 81.
- E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web author E.B. White died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 1985, which his family described him as fighting with “grace and humor.”
- Malcolm Young
AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young was diagnosed with alcohol-related dementia in 2014, when he began having trouble remembering lyrics to the group’s songs. He died three years later, in 2017.
- Sugar Ray Robinson
Well-known boxer Sugar Ray Robinson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, eventually succumbing to it in 1989 at the age of 67.
- Gene Wilder
Actor Gene Wilder passed away from the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016, but the cause of his death wasn’t made public by his family until after he had passed.
- Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan is one of the most well-known people to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. The former president addressed the United States in a letter on November 5, 1994, revealing his neurological state. He died 10 years later.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease: Mild, moderate, and severe
The symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease can vary – and even more so depending on whether you have a mild, moderate, or severe case of Alzheimer’s. Dementia is a progressive disease, which means once it develops, it’s guaranteed to worsen overtime, and symptoms will only get more intense and difficult to live with. An Alzheimer’s DNA analysis might have told you you’re likely to contract the disease at some point in the future, and if that’s the case, here are some early symptoms to keep an eye out for:
Symptoms of Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
- Memory loss that disrupts everyday living
- Loss of initiative or desire to be spontaneous
- Poor judgment or decision-making
- Trouble with planning things or problem-solving
- Wandering or getting lost in familiar areas
- Losing track of dates
- Losing track of your current location
- Taking longer than usual to complete familiar, everyday tasks
- Repeating oneself or forgetting known answers to questions
- Trouble paying bills or handling money
- Changes in mood or personality
- Increased aggression
- Increased anxiety
- Difficulty keeping track of items
These are some symptoms that signify an Alzheimer’s case has moved from the mild to moderate stage:
Symptoms of Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
- Even more severe confusion or memory loss – forgetting longer-term details of oneself, like significant lifetime events or personal history
- Withdrawal from social activities
- The inability to learn anything new
- Difficulty with speaking
- Difficulty with reading and/or writing
- Difficulty thinking logically or communicating thoughts
- Shorter attention span
- Issues coping with change
- Increased difficulty with carrying out everyday tasks
- Issues recognizing family or friends
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Impulsive or inappropriate behavior (like cursing excessively or undressing in public)
- Increased anxiety
- Wandering or getting lost in familiar places
- Repetitive movements or statements
- Muscle twitches
- Uncharacteristic emotional outbursts
These are some symptoms that signify an Alzheimer’s case has moved from the moderate to severe stage:
Symptoms of Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
- Inability to communicate one’s thoughts
- No recollection of recent experiences
- No awareness of one’s surroundings
- Severe weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing; loss of interest in eating
- Groaning or grunting
- Physical decline
- Increased sleeping habits
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
How to work against the development of Alzheimer’s Disease
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is unpreventable, and there is no known cure for the disease. However, if you’ve taken an Alzheimer’s genetics analysis or an Alzheimer’s DNA test and know you might develop the disease, there are a few recognized preventative measures you can take that may help you work against those odds – or at least soften the severity of the disease when the time comes.
- Try to keep your blood pressure at a healthy rate. This can be achieved by exercising regularly, eating a diverse and nutritious diet, and taking tests to ensure yours is resting at a healthy level.
- Ensure your blood sugar levels are under control. This is especially important if you suffer from diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Again, this can be achieved by exercising regularly and eating nutritiously.
- Avoid excessive smoking and/or drinking. These two habits have been linked to brain damage, so to reduce your risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s, you’ll want to avoid these as much as possible – especially if you got positive results from an Alzheimer’s DNA analysis or Alzheimer’s genetics analysis.
- Ensure you get a healthy amount of sleep each night. Sleep is one of the simplest ways to maintain overall health, and will be particularly valuable if you’re someone who tested positive on an Alzheimer’s DNA analysis.
Why you should get an Alzheimer’s DNA analysis
Taking an Alzheimer’s DNA test is a useful way for a person to determine whether or not they might be at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease later in life. If Alzheimer’s Disease runs in your family – or, alternatively, if you know nothing about your family’s history at all – you’ll probably want to take an Alzheimer’s DNA test to figure out your level of risk. Remember: Alzheimer’s Disease doesn’t have a cure, and it is a disease that progresses aggressively once it’s started. However, there are a few different measures you can take to fortify yourself as much as possible against this risk. But your best initial bet is knowledge: use an Alzheimer’s genetics analysis to know what your risk looks like and what you can do to mitigate it.