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Alzheimers and Dementia | Disease Articles Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication

Alzheimers Disease and Dementia – are you at risk?

Alzheimer's Disease is a form of dementia caused by destruction of the frontal lobes of the brain. This condition leads to the progressive deterioration of mental functioning. It is the most common form of mental decline in older adults.

Alzheimers gets worse over time, but the course of the disease varies from person to person. Some people may still be able to function relatively well until late stages of Alzheimers disease.

Others may lose the ability to do daily activities in earlier stages. Over time, Alzheimer's disease causes severe mental and functional problems and eventually results in death.

Dementia is a slowing of the mind processes commonly demonstrated by short term memory loss, ability to perform simple arithmetic calculations, and emotional lability.

Dementia may occur secondary to vitamin deficiencies (B12, B6, niacin, thiamin), chronic alcohol abuse, Alzheimer disease, senile dementia, multiple strokes, diabetes, and liver and kidney failure.

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, accounts for 50-75% of all cases of dementia. Another 20-30% is due to blood vessel disease ("multi-infarct dementia" or "mini-strokes"). The remaining cases result from a variety of less common disorders.

Dementia is almost a certainty if you live long enough. Statistics tell us that as many as 2/3 of the population over the age of 90 suffers from some form of dementia or depression. Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly.

There is no known cure for Alzheimers disease. However, there are certain drugs on the market which offer some encouragement in that they slow the progression of the disease. Alternative medicine, a good healthy lifestyle and exercise also offer some benefit.

Diagnosing Alzheimers

Age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. The number of people with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65.

Blood sugar problems that cause excess glucose in the blood, such as diabetes, has now been added to the list of risk factors for Alzheimer's, given the role of glycation.

Family history is another risk factor, depending on the type of Alzheimer’s.

Familial Alzheimer’s disease, a rare form of Alzheimer's that usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 60, is inherited – so family history is a big risk factor.

The more common form of Alzheimer disease is known as late-onset Alzheimer's. It occurs later in life, and no obvious inheritance pattern is seen.

The health of your brain depends on what you eat, and your risk of Alzheimer's is reduced with the appropriate diet.

Alzheimer's Disease has long known to be both a genetic and environmental disease, but the researchers, studying diet and lifestyle for over ten years, are offering proof that the foods people consume greatly influence their risk of developing the disease.

They recommend a diet high in antioxidants – at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day – and relatively low in fat.

They also recommend eating fish for its protective qualities and a vitamin B supplement, because vitamin B lowers homocysteine levels in the blood. This diet, they said, is particularly important for people in their 40s and 50s to reduce the Alzheimer's risk.

Alzheimers Treatments

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease for which there is no known cure.

Various therapies and treatments can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. It’s important to know the warning signs for each stage of Alzheimer’s and detect the condition early.

If the symptoms are caught early, alpha lipoic acid and other Alzheimer’s treatments can be used to slow (and possibly stop) the progression of Alzheimers and Depression.