25/07/2022 / Mental Health and Wellness

How to treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease gets worsens over time and can become fatal. The signs, symptoms, cause, and course of the disease varies for each person but can be treated with the help of a specialist.

How to treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Manasa Krishna PerumallaManasa Krishna Perumalla

Manasa Krishna Perumalla

B.Pharm, Research Associate

Table of content

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurogenerative disease that slowly causes the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a group of symptoms associated with the decline of brain function. Dementia can cause difficulty with language, disorientation, mood swings, lots of motivation, self-neglect, thinking disability, and other mental disabilities. But the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet understood fully. There may be many genetic or environmental factors that are involved in the development of signs for early Alzheimer’s disease.

Signs for early Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is generally described in 3 states that involve a progressive pattern of cognitive and functional impairment. Alzheimer’s disease targets the hippocampus the piece associated with your memory impairment. Dementia is not a normal part of your aging. Memory problems or the first signs for early Alzheimer’s disease. Along with memory loss, you may also experience one or more of the following signs for early Alzheimer’s disease

Signs for early Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cognitive impairment that disrupts your daily life, like getting lost in any familiar place or repeating the same question is one of the most common signs for early Alzheimer’s disease

  • Sudden change in your mood, personality, or behavior 

  • You may misplace things or be unable to retrace to find them

  • Poor judgment and reasoning

  • Play experience difficulty completing tasks that you are with familiar at home from work or leisure

  • You may have trouble handling money and paying bills

  • Loss of speech and verbal language abilities

  • Having hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia

Symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease

  • Symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease will gradually progress over several years. So, you may confuse these symptoms with other disease conditions or old age.

  • The rate at which your symptoms progress will be different in each individual. In rare cases, other conditions like infections, stroke, and delirium can be responsible for worsening your symptoms.

Symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease

Symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease are associated with some brain changes that will cause disturbance in your:

Memory

Memory lapses are common in individuals but if you have Alzheimer’s disease the problem may affect your normal ability to function at work or home.You may experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Repeat everything again and again

  • Forget about conversations, your appointments, and important events even after scheduling

  • Placing things at illogical locations

  • Get lost even in well-familiar places

  • Trouble remembering the names of family members or loved ones

  • Feel difficult to find words, express thoughts, or identify objects

Thinking and reasoning

Alzheimer’s disease will cause difficulty in thinking, and concentrating, especially regarding calculations using numbers. You will not be able to multitask, manage finances, balance checkbooks, and pay bills. You will become unable to recognize or deal with numbers.

Making judgments and decisions

Alzheimer’s disease causes a decline in your ability to make decisions and judgments in any situation. You may not respond effectively to any situation you are dealing with and may make decisions that are not appropriate. 

Planning and performing tasks

Alzheimer’s disease can lead to a struggle in performing any sequential steps such as planning, cooking, and playing. It will be a struggle even to perform basic tasks like bathing and eating.

Change in personality and behavior

Alzheimer’s disease causes brain changes that can affect your mood and behavior. Some of the problems may include:

  • Depression

  • Apathy

  • Mood swings

  • Irritability and aggressiveness

  • Insomnia

  • Loss of inhibition

  • Social distancing

  • Delusions

  • Distrust in people

Preserved skills

Preserved skills like listening, reading, telling stories, eating, dancing, drawing, singing, or doing art are preserved at the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. 

These skills are controlled by parts of the brain that can be affected late in the course of the disease. (infographics END)

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease may include increasing age, family history, untreated depression, and lifestyle under conditions like cardiovascular disease. It is believed that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around the brain cells of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Age

  • Family history

  • Head injuries

  • Down syndrome

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Depression

  • Other risk factors

Complications

The occurrence of memory loss and verbal inability, along with poor judgment and other changes can complicate the Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Other health conditions may also worsen that are not explained by the patient on account of the inability to:

  • Communicate the pain experiencing

  • Explain symptoms of another ailment

  • Follow any Alzheimer’s disease treatment plan

  • Note the side effects of medicine for Alzheimer’s disease

As Alzheimer’s disease worsens the brain changes will lead to affect physical functions like breathing, swallowing, balance, and other bowel and bladder control loss. All these trigger health problems like:

  • Inhalation of food and liquid

  • Occurrence of flu, pneumonia, and infections

  • Fractures due to falls

  • Malnutrition and Dehydration

  • Constipation or Diarrhea

  • Dental problems

Cure for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease cure is not yet discovered but aducanumab is the only disease-modifying medicine for Alzheimer’s disease treatment approved now.

Alzheimer’s can be cured only by prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease, and practice of Alzheimer’s disease treatment by improving physical fitness, diet, and changing lifestyle and habits.

Drugs used in Alzheimer’s disease 

  • Alzheimer’s disease drugs used include statins, antihypertensives, antidiabetics, and NSAIDs. The use of statins helps to lower cholesterol and may benefit as a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Antihypertensives and antidiabetic medicines may decrease the risk of dementia in people without overt cognitive impairment. 

  • More research is required to examine the relationship between medicine for Alzheimer’s disease and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Antidepressants can be included under medicine for Alzheimer’s disease as they provide a preventive measure and help in the management of Alzheimer’s disease. Long-term use of NSAIDs will reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing inflammation. 

  • It is believed that the presence of estrogen in women is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. However, no evidence to show that hormone replacement therapy in menopause decreases the risk of cognitive decline. 

Medicine for Alzheimer’s disease

Even though there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is medicine for Alzheimer’s disease to temporarily reduce the symptoms. 

Medicine for Alzheimer’s disease

Several medicine for Alzheimer’s disease are available to improve some symptoms. The major medicine for Alzheimer’s disease includes:

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChE)

  • Alzheimer’s disease treatment includes these medicines as they increase levels of acetylcholine in the brain to help nerve cells communicate with each other. 

  • These medicine for Alzheimer’s disease is only prescribed by specialists or by GP on the advice of specialists like psychiatrists or neurologists.

  • Drugs used in Alzheimer’s disease treatment also include Donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine which can be prescribed for people with signs for early Alzheimer’s disease to mid-stage.

Memantine

  • Memantine is used in Alzheimer’s disease treatment and it works by blocking the effects of the excessive amount of glutamate, a chemical in the brain.

  • This medicine for Alzheimer’s disease treatment can be used by people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Homeopathic medicine for Alzheimer’s disease 

Homeopathic medicine for Alzheimer’s disease is selected based on the nature of the disease and person after careful assessment. 

  • Anacardium and Alumina are homeopathic medicine for Alzheimer’s disease that help with forgetfulness.

  • Cannabis indica best homeopathic medicine for Alzheimer’s disease to help with short-term memory loss.

  • Medorrhinum is used in patients with Alzheimer’s disease to improve memory of well-known places and names.

  • Lac Caninum and Nux Moschata are drugs used in Alzheimer’s disease treatment to progress preserved skills like listening, reading, and writing.

  • For depression and imbalance homeopathic medicine for Alzheimer’s disease are Ignatia, Kali Phos, and Aurum Met. 

Alzheimer’s disease treatment

Do you know how Alzheimer’s disease treatment is done? Medicine for Alzheimer’s disease may improve the quality of your life, but there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease treatment includes: 

  • Helping people to improve brain health

  • Managing behavior and cognitive symptoms

  • Slowing or delaying symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease treatment will help people live well with dementia. The Alzheimer’s disease treatment methods are:

Cognitive stimulation therapy

This Alzheimer’s disease treatment involves participation in group activities and exercises designed to improve memory and problem-solving abilities.

Cognitive rehabilitation

Here you work with an occupational therapist who is a trained professional and a relative or friend to help you achieve a personal goal like learning to use mobile or other daily tasks.

This Alzheimer’s disease treatment method works by making you use the parts of the brain that are working to help parts that are not.

Reminiscence and life story work

  • Reminiscence involves talking about things and events from your past using props, images, favorite possessions, or music. 

  • Life story work involves the use of a digital version or physical book to have a compilation of photos, notes, and keepsakes from your childhood to the present. 

  • These approaches to Alzheimer’s disease treatment are evident to improve mood and well-being.

Prevention for Alzheimer’s disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease cannot be prevented permanently; however, we can modify many lifestyle risk factors. Scientific evidence suggests that you can make changes in diet, exercise, and habits to reduce the risk of and lower the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Prevention for Alzheimer’s disease includes:

Prevention for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Following regular exercise, taking a good diet with fresh food and low-fat oils, strictly following treatment for other health issues, and quitting smoking.

  • Prevention for Alzheimer’s disease can be done through:

  • Increasing social interaction and participating in the activities like reading, dancing, playing games, and creating art and craft that require mental and social interaction.

Take-home points

  • Signs for early Alzheimer’s disease include dementia, confusion, social distance, irritability, difficulty in daily tasks, imbalance, self-neglect, and loss of motivation.

  • Patient with Alzheimer’s disease will be unable to use numbers and feel discomfort interacting with people.

  • Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is misunderstood as old age symptoms in most cases.

  • There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but medicine for Alzheimer’s disease help to improve symptoms.

  • Signs for early Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented by the management of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Prevention for Alzheimer’s disease includes a change in diet, lifestyle, and physical fitness.


FAQ on alzheimer disease treatment

1. What is the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia?

Ans. Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia, whereas dementia is a loss of thinking, reasoning, and remembering and interferes with the daily tasks of a person.

2. What are the signs for early Alzheimer's disease?

Ans. Signs for early Alzheimer's disease are a decline in thinking, finding words, and poor judgment and reasoning.

3. What are the stages of Alzheimer's disease?

Ans. Stages of Alzheimer's disease include preclinical, early (mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe).

4. What are the causes of Alzheimer's disease?

Ans. Causes of Alzheimer's disease are age, genetics, lifestyle, and other disease conditions.

5. Is Alzheimer's disease hereditary?

Ans. Alzheimer's disease is not hereditary but genetics may increase your risk of early onset of Alzheimer's disease.

6. Is there a cure for Alzheimer's disease?

Ans. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease currently, but FDA has approved certain medicine for Alzheimer's disease control.

7. Is there a way to prevent Alzheimer's disease?

Ans. There is no evident prevention for Alzheimer's disease but can minimize risk by controlling blood sugar, lifestyle changes, diet control, and body weight management.


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