What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that affects people’s memory and makes it very hard for the patient to remember things especially recent events. It is ironic that the patient may be able to remember things that happened many years ago in the past but still won’t be able to remember something that just happened. The disease will eventually progress as time goes and other symptoms will start to show up. Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer that the patient may exhibit are:

Memory loss and confusion is the main symptoms

Difficulty focusing on task

Having a hard time doing ordinary task

Feeling frustrated from confusion, is common at night

Mood swings with outbursts of anger, anxiety and depression

Easily getting lost and disoriented

Physical problems, poor coordination and odd walk

Communication problems

It is so sad that Alzheimer’s disease may make people forget whop their family or loved ones are or not be able to dress, feed themselves or even use the bathroom.

There are several stages of Alzheimer from mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer; the stages basically indicate the severity of the symptoms.

Demographic – Alzheimer affects 1 in 8 people over the age of 65 (12.5%) and women are more prone to have the disease than men. The reason for this gender difference is yet to be determined.

Causes of Alzheimer – At this time no definite cause is confirmed by medical scientists but the disease affects mainly older people over the age of 65. There are scientists who suspect that the cause may be from nerve cells that get tangles, called neurofibrillary tangles or protein deposits called beta-amyloid plaques which build up in the brain. Unfortunately it’s apparent that genes play a role in people getting Alzheimer; this is because if one or both of your parents have the disease it is highly likely that you may eventually get it.

Treatment – Unfortunately there are no permanent cure for Alzheimer but there are treatments that may help reduce the symptoms that the patient may be having and thus give them a much better lifestyle. The medications that the doctor prescribes will treat memory loss, behavior changes, sleep problems and other Alzheimer related symptoms but they won’t stop the disease. Depending on the symptoms that a patient is having the doctor may prescribe one or more types of medicine such as the ones that treat depression and irritability; Citalopram (Celexa), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft).

If the symptoms are anxiety or restlessness the prescription may be either one of Alprazolam (Xanax), Buspirone (Buspar), Lorazepam (Ativan), Oxazepam (Serax), etc.

In order to help with confusion, aggression, agitation or hallucination the doctor may prescribe aripiprazole (Abilify), haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa), etc.

Other treatments - These are not proven to be effective so doctors don’t recommend them.

Vitamin E, an antioxidant thought to protect nerve cells from damage

Hormone replacement therapy, estrogen was thought to keep the brain from making plaques that build up between brain. Unfortunately recent finding shows that this is not true but rather estrogen use may actually raise the risk of Alzheimer.

Art and music therapy, these help stimulate the senses and can improve mood and behavior of Alzheimer patient.

Supplements, alternative remedies like coenzyme Q10, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids has been suggested but not enough research to show their effectiveness.

References:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/symptoms

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp

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