Alzheimer’s is a type of disease that causes loss of memory and continuous decline in thinking and speaking. This decline occurs gradually,as the disease worsens with time. If a person is diagnosed with severe Alzheimer’s, it will disrupt the person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks.
You may think that Alzheimer’s disease is a normal part of aging, but that is not true. That said, the biggest contributor or cause of Alzheimer’s disease is an increase in age. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are aged 65 years and above. However, this does not rule out the existence of Alzheimer’s patients who are below 65 years of age.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is uncertain. However, Alzheimer’s disease is thought to occur due to protein deposition in the brain. This causes the blockage of nutrient intake delivered to the brain cells. When a system has been damaged, it then spreads until changes occur in the brain’s working system, such as the loss of ability to perform certain activities.
Apart from these factors, there are several other factors that can trigger the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, including:
- Down Syndrome.
- Congenital factors.
- Age 65 years and over.
- Being female.
- Family history.
- Unhealthy lifestyle.
- Heart health problems.
- History of brain trauma.
When to See a Doctor for Alzheimer’s Disease?
If there are indications of Alzheimer’s, you should immediately check and consult a general practitioner. You may be referred to a neurologist, a specialist doctor that deal with Alzheimer’s cases. To confirm the presence of Alzheimer’s symptoms, the doctor will perform a series of tests such as:
Medical History Check
The medical history check may include:
- Checking medications consumed.
- Finding out if there is family history of illness.
- Checking current and past medical conditions.
- Asking about symptoms experienced in daily activities.
- Checking your mental state by asking a series of questions to find out how your mental health is.
- Asking about personal history, such as marital status, occupation, sexual history, and other relevant questions
This is a short test performed to check:
- Skills in calculating.
- Problem solving skills.
- Attention span
CT scans are performed to detect brain changes that are common in later stages of Alzheimer’s patients
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This can help doctors observe if a tumor or stroke is causing Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and also help to pinpoint brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
This test is done to study the continuity between the brain and behavior. It is very helpful in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the thoughts, emotions and behavior of people with Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
The primary symptom of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include having difficulty remembering events or conversations even though these events have just occurred. As the disease progresses, one’s memory will worsen over time and other symptoms begin to develop.
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may find that they have difficulty remembering things and mapping memories. Family members and loved ones may be the ones who are aware of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, especially if the condition of the patient worsens.
The following are common Alzheimer’s symptoms:
- Having a hard time focussing.
- Easily forgetting
- Getting lost easily
- Difficulty communicating.
- Difficulty engaging in daily activities
- Often feeling confused or frustrated for no reason, especially at night.
- Frequent drastic mood changes, such as anger, anxiety, and depression
- The presence of physical disturbances, such as strange gait and / or poor limb coordination.
Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no proven way to treat Alzheimer’s. However, there are several preventive measures that can be taken such as:
- Avoid smoking.
- Increase social activity.
- Take care of your mental health.
- Improve thinking skills (cognitive) to reason logic, such as memory skills.
- Maintain a balanced diet, such as eating vegetables, fruit and lean protein, especially sources of omega-3 protein that contain unsaturated fatty acids.
- Increase physical activity, such as aerobic exercise which can stimulate heart rate and respiratory rate.
Another way to treat Alzheimer’s is by taking medications, for example rivastigmine, which is commonly used to treat dementia and confusion associated with Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Psychotherapy is also commonly used to treat mental disorders in a person. The objective is to stimulate the patient’s brain.
Treatment Cost for Alzheimer’s Disease
For the treatment costs of Alzheimer’s disease, it will depend on the treatments suggested to one’s condition. However, this is considered as palliative treatment, as the disease cannot be cured with medical assistance.
In addition, the treatment cost also depends on the type of medications prescribed as a temporary antidote.
You can calculate the estimated cost of Alzheimer’s treatment by contacting Smarter Health.
Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but the disease can be prevented in several ways:
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a balanced diet.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid stress triggers.
- Actively engage the brain.
- Implement a healthy lifestyle.
- Engage in social activities.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease
Caring for Alzheimer’s patients at home may be difficult and should not be underestimated.
Encourage people with Alzheimer’s to reminisce by looking at old photos and playing their favorite songs. That way, the patient will feel calmer and more comfortable. This can be one of the therapies that you can undertake while treating Alzheimer’s patients at home.
Alzheimer’s patients are often confused and frustrated at night, which makes it difficult to sleep. In order to minimize these sleep disturbances, you can distract the patient by asking them to sit under the sun for about 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon.
It is advisable to hire the services of nurses, as they will be able to look after patients 24 hours a day. Nurses can also help provide the patient’s health records to the family every day or within a specified time if they need any references when consulting with a doctor.