Alzheimer’s disease: What You Should Know
Alzheimer’s: A growing number of people are suffering from this disease
Not long ago I was at the gym when an old woman approached me to ask about Alzheimer’s disease. I gave her some general information and promised to write about it. So I am fulfilling my promise. Please speak with your doctor and seek to learn. Learning allows you to make informed decisions. Our health is our responsibility and Wellness by Nature gladly shares this information.
The National Institute of Health explains that a German doctor discovered Alzheimer’s disease in 1906. One of the most noticeable symptoms of this disease is the lack of ability to remember recent episodes in one’s life. In fact, there is a challenge to recall recent live episodes and the memory seems to evade recollection. The German doctor conducted an after death study of the brain of one of his patients and discovered that there were irregular clusters and packs of fibers. Both discoveries became part of the protocol for the disease. Lastly, in this disease the brain cells seem to lack the ability to connect. Eventually the cells die and the brain deteriorates into atrophy.
- Public withdrawal
- Attitude swings
- Suspicion and Mistrust of others
- Bad temper and hostility
- Variations in sleeping behaviors
- An abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain seems to be the main culprit in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- This building up of proteins, such as amyloid and tau protein leads to the dying of brain cells. Eventually this leads to dementia.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
The CDC mentions these common symptoms
- Difficulty recalling and making new memories
- Difficulty finding words
- Lack of interest in life in general
- Can’t remember recent events
- Lack of decision about finances
- Lack motivation to stay engaged in an activity
- Gets lost even in familiar places
- Not able to think logically
- Asks same questions over and over
- Demonstrate irritability, anger, frustration
- Has no control of time
- Loses interest easily and does not enjoy company as much
- The healthy neurons begin to lose strength and efficiency because an irregular deposit of proteins constructs amyloid plaques and tau tangles all through the brain.
- The damage spreads to an adjacent organization in the brain, the hippocampus. This organ is essential in establishing memories. As neurons perish away, the damaged regions of the brain shrink.
- By the closing phases of Alzheimer’s injury is pervasive, and brain tissue has shrunk a great deal. This pervasive injury occurs in stages as: Alzheimer’s disease is present but without visible symptoms; Alzheimer’s disease began changes in the Brain and there is a mild manifestation of symptoms; Alzheimer disease manifest dementia as the person loses the ability to recall events.
- Mild dementia: beginning of impairments of daily functions
- Moderate dementia: thinking skills begin to deteriorate as well the manifestation of abnormal behaviors
- Severe dementia: grave diminishing of thinking abilities and proper behavioral mode and lack of bodily functions
- Usually this disease leads to death within 5 to 8 years after diagnosis.
- As the disease progresses there are personality changes, lack of coordination, and inability to complete simple self-care activities.
- At the end of the disease, most people are dependent on someone else for care.
- Strong possibilities: old age, family history for mental disabilities, such as Parkinson and Alzheimer’s, head trauma, stroke, estrogen imbalance
- Medium possibilities: alcohol abuse, nutrient deficiency, metabolic defect, lower level of education
- Lesser possibilities: depression, sugar consumption, coronary artery disease
Evaluation of the Disease
Due to the nature of this disease, there is no one test to assess all functioning areas. This is why there is a combination of tests conducted to evaluate this disease.
These test are provided by the National Alzheimer’s’ Association
Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale, cognitive subsection (ADAS-cog)
Blessed Information-Memory-Concentration Test (BIMC)
Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR)
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)*
Functional Assessment Questionnaire (FAQ)*
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (PSMS)*
Progressive Deterioration Scale (PDS)
Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC)
Clinical Interview-Based Impression (CIBI)
Global Deterioration Scale (GDS)
Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease Rating Scale (BEHAVE-AD)
Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)
There are two types of drugs for the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
- Cholinesterase inhibitors
- NMDA receptors antagonists
Physicians might also recommend Vitamin E as part of the treatment for this disease
There are two types of treatment for behavioral and psychiatric symptoms
- Non-drug intervention
- Prescription Medicine
Most clinicians recommend the application of non-drug intervention first and if that is not successful, the prescription medicine last.
The non-drug intervention considers:
- Identification of behavior
- Analysis of causes of behavior
- Adaption of caretaker to the application of solution
Antidepressant medications for low mood and irritability
- citalopram (Celexa®)
- fluoxetine (Prozac®)
- paroxetine (Paxil®)
- sertraline (Zoloft®)
- trazodone (Desyrel®)
Anxiolytics for anxiety, restlessness, verbally disruptive behavior and resistance
- lorazepam (Ativan®)
- oxazepam (Serax®)
Antipsychotic medications for hallucinations, delusions, aggression, hostility and uncooperativeness
- newer “atypical” agents such as aripiprazole (Abilify®); olanzapine (Zyprexa®); quetiapine (Seroquel®); risperidone (Risperdal®); and ziprasidone (Geoden®)
- older first-generation drugs such as haloperidol (Haldol®)
Wellness and Preventive Measures
- Have an exercise routine
- Eat healthy foods and avoid fast foods and sugary drinks
- Read, paint, work puzzles, and develop a hobby that engages your mind
- Sleep as needed
- Take naps if possible
- Release stress
- Have fun, have friends, and be approachable – keep a zest for life does not matter what
- Laugh and keep your sense of humor
- Volunteer and be helpful
- Visit with Wellness by Nature often
In conclusion, one of the most noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is the lack of ability to remember recent episodes in one’s life. In fact, there is a challenge to recall recent live episodes and the memory seems to evade recollection. An abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain seems to be the main culprit in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Most clinicians recommend the application of non-drug intervention first and if that is not successful, the prescription medicine last. In wellness and preventable measure, it is important to exercise, eat healthy and keep overall zest for life – Be resilient and thank you again for reading articles in Wellness by Nature.
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I'm no doctor, but I love sharing from my vast knowledge on the power of foods and techniques that help you vastly improve your life in areas like physical health, sickness prevention, and emotional and spiritual balance. Read more about me...