What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that affects your brain and gradually gets worse over time. In over 60% of cases, Alzheimer’s will lead to patients being diagnosed with dementia, and it can be scary to hear you’ve got this disease.
As the disease takes hold of people they can lose language skills, find themselves getting lost more often, lose the ability to care for themselves, and increased mood swings. The cause of the disease isn’t fully understood, but many believe that it comes from inherited genes from parents, while others attribute it to head injuries and high blood pressure.
So far no treatments have been able to reverse the effects and those diagnosed eventually rely on a caregiver to look after them. The disease is estimated to affect around 6% of people over the age of 65 and in 2015 29.8 million people worldwide were suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Scientists have come up with a theory that suggests Alzheimer’s could be linked to gum disease. The genetic material gingivalis has been found in the brains of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s in larger quantities than those who do not. It is believed the increase in gingivalis comes from the mouth and is associated with poor oral hygiene.
The research discovered that those with fewer teeth are more susceptible to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than those with more. The gingivalis can enter the blood through the gums due to weaker defenses. That then gives it free passage to the brain as it can invade white blood cells.
What We Can Do
Besides keeping good oral hygiene, there isn’t much we can do just yet. Scientists have created a blocker that prevents the gingivalis from entering the brain and are now hoping to conduct extensive research to provide conclusive results.
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease, and it’s unlikely to be entirely eradicated by one vaccine, but it’s a start.