Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that impairs the brain’s functioning. It causes memory loss, fuzziness, mood shifts, and other symptoms. The reality is that there are currently no treatments that can stop or reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, some medicines can temporarily stop the development of the disorder. These include a balanced diet, regular exercise, mental activity, and avoiding toxic substances. Learn more about their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
Various factors can cause Alzheimer’s disease, which include:
- Lifestyle factors
- Abnormal accumulation of protein in or around the cells of the brain.
Other causes include disruption in the working of brain proteins, which further affects brain cells to cause damage to neurons.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Some common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Difficulty concentrating or recalling recent memories
- Confusion and difficulty communicating
- Poor judgement and problem-solving
- Changes in personality or behaviour
- Loss of sense of initiation
Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it can affect different areas of the brain and body differently. Here are the three stages of Alzheimer’s disease, based on how well the person can function:
Mild or Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease – In early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, people may have trouble with basic activities such as managing money, paying bills, asking questions repeatedly, and remembering where they put their keys.
Moderate-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease – In middle-stage Alzheimer’s, people may experience hallucinations, paranoia, and impulsiveness. They may have difficulty speaking and understanding language and may also experience problems with memory and judgement skills.
Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease – This is the worst stage of Alzheimer’s disease. At this stage, brain tissues start shrinking, and people may have difficulty walking, speaking, or understanding language. They may also need help with memory, lack of awareness, and judgement skills.
How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?
There are two main methods to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease: A medical evaluation and a neuropsychological evaluation conducted by a trained professional such as a psychologist or neuropsychologist.
The medical evaluation includes blood tests and imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. In contrast, the neuropsychological evaluation includes cognitive function and memory tests and interviews with family members and caregivers to get a more comprehensive picture of the person’s mental health status and medical history.
Treatment Options for Alzheimer’s Disease
There are many different treatments available for Alzheimer’s disease. Some common treatments include:
Clinical trials – Clinical trials are a way to test new treatments before they’re released to the general public. They can be expensive, but they may offer the best chance of finding a cure or improved treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Drugs prescribed by a doctor – Drugs prescribed by a doctor, such as memantine (namenda) and cholinesterase inhibitors, may reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss or confusion.
Regulate behaviour changes – In some cases, people experience some behaviour changes. Some changes may be so severe that they require professional help to manage. Here are some medications to help with managing behavioural changes –
- Antipsychotics (neuroleptics) – Help the patient to deal with hallucinations, paranoia and agitation.
- Antidepressants – Reduce depression, anxiety, and restlessness
- Anticonvulsant drugs: Effective in treating aggression
- Anti-anxiety drugs: Used to treat anxiety and agitation.
Physical therapy – Physical therapy can help improve mobility and coordination, which can help people with Alzheimer’s live more independently.
Social and emotional support – Social and emotional support can help people with Alzheimer’s disease feel connected to their community and loved ones.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Neurology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disorder that can be difficult to understand. However, with the right information and understanding, patients can learn how to manage symptoms and even prevent their development.
Q. What is Alzheimer’s disease?
A. Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder affecting memory, judgement, and other mental functions.
Q. What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
A. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Repeating things
- Memory loss
- Difficulty performing daily tasks
- Mood changes
- Personality changes
- Poor judgement and confusion
- Behavioural changes (in severe cases)
Q. How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?
A. Two main ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s are through a medical and neuropsychological evaluation, including blood tests, imaging, and interviews with family members and caregivers.
Q. What are the treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease?
A. There are several types of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, including medication, lifestyle changes, psychological treatments, and social support.
Q. How can I prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. These include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, medications to treat symptoms such as depression and anxiety, and medical procedures such as surgery to remove brain plaques or lesions.