Alzheimer’s is known for having negative effects on the brain, but the physical damage can also be substantial. The whole body is affected in Alzheimer’s due to the damaged brain cells. As the disease worsens the physical symptoms increase overtime.
6 Physical Effects of Alzheimer’s
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s has a negative impact on general health and well being. It can alter the way someone looks, moves, and functions. The following symptoms can be:
1. Changes in Movements
One of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s is a change in the way someone walks. Movements are controlled by muscles that are sent signals by the brain. Damage to the brain cells cause these changes in movement.
Symptoms to Look out for are:
- Shorter steps
- Walking slowly
- Dragging feet
Changes like these can come before any other symptoms are apparent. Overtime movements can become even more impaired.
2. Lack of Coordination
Awareness of one’s space can be affected by brain changes. Difficulty in judging distances, can make it more challenging for avoiding tripping over furniture or safely managing the stairs. Balance and coordination are altered causing problems with balance and coordination, creating a higher chance of falls.
3. Rigid Muscles
Muscular problems, such as shaking and muscle stiffness, can occur with Alzheimer’s. Rigid muscles make it difficult to move and even tremors can happen. End stages of the disease can have muscle tightness that lead to contracted and wasted muscles.
4. Weight Loss
Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging due to decreased appetite and problems with chewing and swallowing. All of these factors can lead to weight loss, especially in the advanced stages of the disease.
Insufficient nutrition along with immobility can create constipation, in combination with the bowel muscles’ natural weakening. Poor constipation can lead to abdominal pain as well. Bowel control is lost in the end-stages of Alzheimer’s and incontinence is prevalent.
In elderly with dementia, urinary infections are more prevalent. The issue can be exacerbated by dehydration and lack of mobility to make it to the restroom. An infection may cause confusion, incontinence, and abdominal pain. Bladder control is lost in advanced Alzheimer’s leading to issues with incontinence.
6. Unable to Swallow
In the disease’s late phases, you may lose the instinctive ability to chew and swallow. Breathing and swallowing involve complicated coordination. Food or liquids can be inhaled into the lungs, resulting in possibly hazardous aspiration pneumonia.
Fairmont Grand Senior Living Community
Fairmont Grand is a resident centered senior living and memory care facility in Rapid City, SD. Our goal is to create an environment where resident well-being is at the heart of everything we do.
Our wide range of services are designed to meet you or your loved one’s daily needs. We offer restaurant style dining options, a variety of physical activities, and give residents the opportunity to live as independently as possible.