- Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain where brain cells are progressively damaged and are lost leading to impaired memory, thinking and behaviour.
- It is a progressive disease which gradually increases over a period of time leading to increased symptoms.
- 3 in 10 people above 85 are at the risk of developing Alzheimer.
- It is the most common form of dementia affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia.
- Alzheimer’s disease is of two types: sporadic or familial.
- Sporadic is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease; it can affect adults at any age, but usually, occurs after 65.
- Familial Alzheimer’s disease is a rare genetic condition caused by a mutation in one of the several genes.
- Persistent and frequent memory difficulties, especially of recent events.
- Vagueness in everyday conversation.
- Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities.
- Taking longer to do routine tasks.
- Forgetting well-known people or places.
- Inability to process questions and instructions.
- Deterioration of social skills.
- Emotional unpredictability.
- A thorough physical and neurological examination.
- A test of intellectual function.
- Psychiatric assessment.
- Neuropsychological tests.
- Blood and urine tests.
- Lumbar puncture for cerebral spinal fluid tests.
- Medical imaging (MRI, PET).
At present, there is no complete cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is a lot that can be done to enable someone to live well with the condition. This includes both drug and non-drug therapy (supportive and palliative treatment).
In some cases of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, cholinergic drugs are prescribed for improvement in cognition. Drugs are available to help alleviate restlessness, depression or to help the person with dementia sleep better. But these medications,sometimes, can increase the confusion, dizziness and the risk of falls.
Adapting the living situation to the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s is an important part of any treatment plan. You can make a few lifestyle changes to support your loved one “Living with someone with Alzheimer’s.”
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