Well, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not an easy one to deal with. There is no cure as such but the symptoms can be managed using Alzheimer’s medicines that are approved by FDA.
Today, we can see visible progress in research carried out to understand this disease better. Scientists are developing new treatments and medications that are in the last stage of their clinical trials.
Today, several medicines are given to relieve the symptoms of the disease temporarily.
A lot of FDA-approved medicines are available to deal with the disease. Well, these medications can help reduce confusion or enhance memory which are the symptoms of this disease. But, the medicines will not help cure the disease. Alzheimer’s medicines can not prevent the disease from getting worse over time.
These medicines are effective when the patient takes them when the disease is in its mild to moderate phases. It can take 2 to 6 weeks before the results are visible in patients.
Three medications that can help treat AD are
At present, there is no method discovered to prevent this disease. But, a few things that can delay it a little or may cut down the chances of its occurrence are:
• Adults staying physically active are less prone to get this disease than others who are not active
• It is advisable to engage in a regular exercise program after discussing it with your doctor.
• Elderly people staying mentally active are at low risk of getting this disease.
• It is better to engage in activities like playing games, and cards, reading books, solving puzzles, crossword, watching TV, listening to music, etc
• Make sure you remain socially active. The idea is to put your brain to work regularly.
• Eating a balanced diet also helps keep your brain healthy and active.
Well, there is no cure for this disease. But, you can work on a few things to live a quality life.
Make sure the family, doctor, and dear ones take care of the elderly people in the family. You can maintain a care plan which includes.
• The medicines will reduce the symptoms for a temporary period and help the patient manage the disease. The medication may not work for every individual, Still, the doctors say they are worth trying.
• Make sure the patient visits the doctor regularly to check how the medicine is working for them. It is advisable to check if there are any new issues are appearing. Also, the patient needs to be monitored for any change in symptoms. The family of the patient should be educated about the disease properly.
• For any other health issues like vision loss, depression, or hearing loss, relevant treatment should be given.
• Try to come up with ideas that could make the patient as independent as he can. Try to make them independent to carry out their daily tasks with ease.
The primary symptom of AD is memory loss. The person suffering from memory loss will not know about this problem. But, their friends and family members would be able to know.
When it comes to short-term memory loss mainly in the 60s or 70s, it is normal. It is not an AD disease.
Common memory problems are not the same as problems that arise due to memory loss in AD. For instance, normally a person may forge the following
• Some parts of an experience
• Where he parked the car
• The name of a specific person On the other hand, AD comes with memory loss issues where the patient may forget
• The whole experience
• How his car looks like
• Forgets a person they know
The above symptoms are some common mild to moderate and serious symptoms of AD. These symptoms can change with the progression of the disease. If you notice such symptoms in your friend or family member, consult your healthcare provider.
The diagnosis of this disease starts after the other health conditions are evaluated. Your healthcare provider will conduct different tests to accomplish this.
Make sure you accompany your family member or a person you can trust during the doctor’s appointment. The family member can help provide accurate information to the doctor about your daily tasks, and changes in behavior and memory.
Before prescribing any Alzheimer’s medicine to you, the doctor would ask some questions regarding your medical history. He would carry out a physical exam to figure out if you have a physical problem that may be resulting in symptoms. At times, some other issues also show similar symptoms as AD.
The doctor would also conduct mental health and functional status test for better assessment. While conducting these tests, the healthcare provider may as you to perform simple tasks. These tasks help him test his mental skills and memory. The healthcare provider may check your efficiency to do daily tasks.
These tests are carried out to find out the cause of the symptoms. These causes can be some chemicals or minerals in the blood, abnormal thyroid levels, liver disease, or nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can be Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. Treatment for these health issues can reduce or affect mental health.
o Liver function tests. o CBC - Complete blood count
o Folate (folic acid)
o Thyroid function
o Vitamin B12(concentration)
o Blood glucose & electrolytes (potassium, sodium, creatinine, calcium, and glucose) levels.
o HIV test
o Imaging & other tests
o Lumbar puncture test to identify proteins in your spinal fluid
o CT scan for head or head MRI
o A lumbar puncture is to test for certain proteins in the spinal fluid.
o EEG - electroencephalogram
o Brain imaging studies
Apart from Alzheimer's medicines, the patient needs care from his family and friends to manage this disease.