Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Should Know

| January 16, 2012 | 0 Comments

Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Should Know

Written By: Michele Bayno BSW, BA

Alzheimer’s can be tricky. It can present itself with symptoms that seem innocent enough. For example, you may just be forgetting things, but we all do from time to time. According to Joseph Hanna (B.Sc. Phm., CDE, CGP), it is estimated that this affliction affects half a million Canadians and five percent of those over 65 years old. If you suspect that you or a loved one is forgetting things beyond “normal”, it is a good idea to book an appointment with the doctor to discuss any issues. The doctor will run tests to determine if there is a problem. Getting an accurate diagnosis as early as possible increases the chances of slowing down this devastating disease.

You may be unaware that they have Alzheimer’s because it often impairs judgement. You also may not be aware of the symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that there may be many reasons other than Alzheimer’s disease causing those symptoms. For this reason, it is important to consult with a doctor.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease:

-Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain by causing the formation of dense deposits called plaques as well as abnormal tangles throughout the organ. Over a period of several years, brain cells die. When this happens, the person will experience symptoms of dementia.

What Are the Symptoms of Dementia?

-one can experience behavior changes.
-one can experience personality changes.
-consistent memory loss that affects daily life more than a “normal” aging person.
-experiencing difficulties with activities of daily living.
-one can experience problems with speech.
-one can experience disorientation.
-misplacement of objects.
-decreased judgement.
-decreased abstract thinking.
(Source of Information: Joseph Hanna)

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease?

-increasing age.
-family history.
-genetic disorders.
-female gender.
-high blood pressure.
-less than six years of formal education.
-head injury.
(Source of Information: Joseph Hanna)

How Can One Reduce The Risk?

-leading a healthy lifestyle.
-eating a healthy diet.
-engaging in physical activity on a daily basis.
-staying within a healthy weight range.
-maintaining normal blood pressure.
-maintaining normal cholesterol levels.
-participating in activities that are mentally stimulating.
-consuming moderate amounts of alcohol.
-quitting smoking.
-reducing your stress levels.
-protecting your head from injuries.

What are the Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease?

-herbal medications such as ginkgo have demonstrated some promises. However, this requires further studies to prove the effectiveness.
-acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. This drug is sometimes used in combination with an N-methyl -d- asparate antagonist. According to Joseph Hanna, this may reduce the symptoms and possibly delay the progression of the disease. It is important to remember that the damage to the brain appears to be irreversible.

As always, consult with a doctor if you believe you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This article is not to be used as a medical diagnostic tool.

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