Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is clinical disorder characterized by the progressive loss of memory and other mental function. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older people which results in the loss of intellectual and social skills interfering with daily normal activities.

In Alzheimer’s disease, the connections between brain cells progressively degenerate and die causing a steady decline in memory and mental functionality. Alzheimer’s disease usually begins after the age of 60, where the risk increases with age and for those with family members having the disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms

The following symptoms may be observable in Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Progressive loss of memory and forgetfulness
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of the ability to read and write
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Diagnosis

The diagnosis of AD is often dependent on the appearance of symptoms in the presence of a clinician. Although Mental Status Testing and Neurophysiological testing may aid physicians to make the appropriate diagnosis. Brain Imaging with Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) may demonstrate the characteristic brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment Options

Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure. Thus treatment options are mainly focused on the reduction of symptoms, delaying the disease progression and assistive support for daily living skills (ADL’s) when necessary.  The following treatment options are commonly sought after for Alzheimer’s disease.

Medications – Cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil and galantamine boost cell to cell communications within the brain cells, lending the opportunity for an improvement in the signs and symptoms of the disease. Memantine may be used with a cholinesterase inhibitor to slow down the progression of the disease.

Supportive Care – This will involve supportive environmental care like removing excess furniture and clutter, installation of sturdy handrails in stairways and bathrooms, ensuring shoes and slippers have adequate traction to avoid slippage and possibly other assistive living technologies.

Regular Exercise – Individuals with AD will benefit from exercise for it may improve their mood and may help to maintain healthy joints. Regular ambulatory exercises may reduce incidences of constipation and sleeplessness.

Proper Nutrition – Individuals with AD may be given high caloric diets like milk shakes for more energy. Adequate fluids must also be maintained.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.