Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms and Treatments
Alzheimer’s disease amasses a frightening vocabulary of symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include the following.
- Forgetting words
- The sense that one is not in control
- Experiencing lapses in memory
- A decline in social skills
- Trouble solving thinking problem
- Losing the ability to reason properly
Alzheimer’s is a progressive, sometimes fatal disease that causes nerve cells in the brain to deteriorate and die. The first symptom of this disease might be a person forgetting recent happenings or words. As the disease advances, a normal individual with Alzheimer’s may develop severe mental decline and lose the capacity to perform basic tasks such as riding a bike or operating a refrigerator.
Treating the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common causes of dementia and researchers have been in an ongoing effort to come up with treatments for this condition. In the United States alone, there are millions of people who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s, and the number of people diagnosed with this debilitating condition is expected to increase.
As medical technology improves, there is still a lot of research to be done to find new courses of treatment. It has yet to be proven conclusively that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, though many researchers believe that early detection and prevention is the best treatment for this disease. This is because the earlier it is detected, the better chance there is to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. Some of the best treatments for Alzheimer’s have already been developed and have proven to be quite effective.
A range of options exist for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, and patients can choose from using drugs, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other methods.
One Alzheimer’s disease study conducted and funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) found that the most successful treatment method for Alzheimer’s was through using a combination of medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Based on this research, the NINDS has developed standards for testing eligibility for Alzheimer’s patients. Generally, when evaluating mild Alzheimer’s patients, doctors check for the following symptoms: decline in attention, memory, understanding, language, judgment, and coordination; a reduction in the ability to make standard decisions; and a significant loss of social functions.
Another way to treat Alzheimer’s is with one drug or group of medications known as antipsychotic drugs. The NINDS also supports this approach by conducting a series of trials on mice that were specifically developed to be resistant to Alzheimer’s. In these studies, results showed that the mice treated with the new drugs showed a significantly higher survival rate than a control group that did not receive the new drugs. Also, people living with Alzheimer’s Disease who are given these drugs show an improvement in their moods and in balancing their mental activity.
Another treatment option available for people living with Alzheimer’s is to take cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins. These drugs can lower the level of “bad” cholesterol in the body while increasing the levels of “good” cholesterol. This will help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Although statins are recommended for people with mild Alzheimer’s Disease, it is important to note that there is an increased risk of stroke in people taking these drugs. Also, a few months after stopping this medication, people may experience a withdrawal symptom which is called the “algia” or “malaise” that is associated with the lower levels of the cholesterol-lowering drug.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a difficult disease to live with, but fortunately, there are a variety of Alzheimer’s disease medications that exist. It is very important that if you are prescribed one or more medications that you discuss it thoroughly with your doctor and research the possible side effects that may occur. There are also many support groups, both local and online, for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and for their loved ones. These groups are often a wealth of information and can help you through the process as well.