Alzheimer's disease

There are many people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, which damages the areas of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

People with Alzheimer's may repeat themselves, forget things or have trouble finding the right words when they speak. There are many researches and investigations regarding Alzheimer's, but at the moment the causes are still unknown, although it seems to occur within families.

Alzheimer's is the disease of elderly, despite this fact it is not considered a normal process of aging. The disease usually first appears after age 60, and the risk increase as people age. Statistics shows that just 5% of men and women between 65 and 74 have it; while as many as 50% of people 85 and older may have it.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include:

  • Memory loss, especially forgetting learned information
  •   Difficulty performing familiar tasks such as boiling water or placing a phone call may suddenly become a challenge
  • Problems with language, people with Alzheimer’s forget simple words like comb or garage
  • Disorientation, people with Alzheimer’s may get lost in a familiar area
  • Poor or decreased judgment for example people with Alzheimer’s might walk outside in their pajamas.
  • Problems with abstract or complex thinking, such as having a difficult time explaining the difference between two household objects, for instance
  • Misplacing things, this means not only losing keys, but also putting them somewhere odd, such as the freezer
  • Mood swings, unusual behavior they might have changes in personality: for example, suddenly becoming highly suspicious, aggressive or fearful

How can you slow Alzheimer’s progression?

  •   Keep your heart healthy. Heart disease raises the risk of Alzheimer's disease, so many of the same things that keep the heart healthy will also protect the brain. (Eat a healthy diet, Stick to lowfat foods and eat more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Keep weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol within healthy ranges. )
  •   Exercise. Regular physical activity, such as walking, boosts circulation and may help regenerate brain cells.(150 min/week)
  •   Challenge your mind. It will maintain the connections and pathways in your brain. Crave out some time every day to do puzzles, play games or learn new skills, such as playing musical instrument.
  •   Be social. It keeps your mind sharp. Maintain a network of friends. Join clubs and community groups.
  •  Don't smoke, and don't drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
  •   Find a support group in your area or visit one online people who have been through the experience of caregiving can offer support and share coping strategies.
  •    Adopt a new household routine to work around difficult times during the day when a person with Alzheimer’s may be particularly agitated and uncooperative.

What are your treatment options?

There are two types of medications approved to treat the decline in mental function caused by Alzheimer's disease, unfortunately it is not a cure, but it may slow the progression of symptoms.

v  Cholinesterase inhibitor

·         This commonly prescribed to prevent the breakdown of a chemical messenger in the brain that is important for memory and other thinking skills. The medication may temporarily improve memory and thinking in some

·         Donepezil

·         Galantamine

·         Rivastigmine

Used for mild –moderate cases)

v  NMDA antagonist

This medication helps to balance the actions of brain chemical called glutamate, which plays a major role in learning and memory.

Like m

emantine (used for moderate-sever cases )

**  There are other medicines that your doctor may prescribe to control behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety and depression. Usually, treating these behavioral symptoms makes people with Alzheimer’s more comfortable and makes it even easier for their caregivers to look after them.

**Other supplements that may help to increase memory and slow the progression like (vitamin e, gingko biloba)

Some tips from your pharmacist:

*  People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble in swallowing pills,  so ALWAYS check with your pharmacist to see if it is right to crush or open tables. Some tablets cannot be crushed, and not all capsules can be opened. They may have time-release properties or special coatings.

*  Being overweight or obese in middle age can raise the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia later in life. Researchers found that people who were overweight in their 40s have a 35% higher risk of developing dementia and obese people have a 74% higher risk.

*  Doing crossword puzzles and other brainteasing activities can help ward off mental decline. Keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and maintain brain cells and brain connections. 

*  These products may help you cope with Alzheimer's disease: Adult diapers, labels to be used as reminders and weekly pill organizer