If you or a loved one is concerned about receiving an Alzheimers diagnosis, because of the age dementia symptoms that may be present, it is very important that you see your doctor and have these fears checked out.
-At the doctors, the person will be asked questions about their general health, past medical problems and history, as well as their ability to carry out daily activities.
They'll be asked to take memory tests, where they will be shown 3 objects to see if they can be remembered a few minutes later.
-Also, tests of language recognition, problem solving and counting backwards are often given.
Finally, there are the medical tests that will include blood and urine testing, brain scans (MRI) and possibly spinal fluid testing.
Having any age dementia symptoms diagnosed as soon as possible has many advantages. Just knowing what the problem is in itself can greatly reduce any anxiety and help to relieve stress.
Click play, for more information on Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
If it is an alzheimers diagnosis, there will be more time to make what surely will be difficult choices, and to plan for the future.
-As with any disease, the sooner it is discovered, the better the chances are of benefiting from any and all alzheimers treatment.
The good news is that some age dementia symptoms can even be reversed, and may be caused by a more treatable condition, such as a drug interaction, an excessive use of alcohol, and certain vitamin deficiencies.
-You can see why it can be so important for your physician to rule everything else out, and not to assume an Alzheimers diagnosis.
3 Types of Alzheimers Disease
About 10 % of those receiving an Alzheimers diagnosis, will have Early Onset Alzheimers disease.
-Early onset Alzheimers is a rare form that typically occurs in people in there 50's and 60's.
Less than 1 % will be diagnosed with Familial Alzheimers disease (FAD), where a genetic predisposition leads to the age dementia symptoms, and is known to be entirely inherited.
-It can strike someone as young as 40 years old, and would have been in the family at least 2 generations.
Ninety Percent of all Alzheimers diagnosis will be of the most common form, or Late Onset Alzheimers disease.
-It typically strikes after the age of 65.
-This type of Alzheimers may or may not be hereditary.
50 % of all people over 85 years old will fall victim to late onset Alzheimers. (Also known as Sporadic Alzheimers)
Doctors are establishing maternal genetic links between late onset Alzheimers, and their children developing the disease.
-Age is the still the strongest risk factor for a late onset Alzheimers diagnosis, with the number of people with Alzheimers doubling every 5 years beyond the age of 65.
-Health also plays an important role in the development of Alzheimers. In fact, according to Bill Thies, the scientific director of the Alzheimers Association, "The link between heart disease and Alzheimers disease is growing in strength every few months, and we predict it will continue to grow."
Heart disease, like Alzheimers (most notably, FAD -see types above), can be both genetic as well as physical. People with parents who have heart disease are at greater risk for developing it themselves.
Cholesterol and Alzheimers
Scientists have found that excess cholesterol in the blood leads to increased cholesterol in the brain, and that this increased production of cholesterol in the brain promotes the production of plaques.
-These plaques have been found in the brains of Alzheimers patients, and many scientists believe these plaques may be responsible for the destruction of brain cells, and may even be the cause of Alzheimers disease.
We know that plaque can lead to heart attacks when found in the in coronary arteries, so it's not surprising that there's a relationship. The heart is the organ that supplies essential elements to many parts of the body, and the brain is just one of the first."
-With heart disease and Alzheimers so tightly linked, it means that it is equally important to take great care of your heart, monitor your blood pressure and to guard against heart disease, as it may well be a precursor for Alzheimers disease.
-Diagnosing Alzheimers is very difficult, and while it is becoming better understood, there are many forms of age dementia symptoms, and there is still much miss-diagnosing of Alzheimers.
-The National Institute for Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in collaboration with the Alzheimers disease and Related Disorders Association (ADRDA), offer the following Alzheimers diagnosis guidelines:
-A doctor can say someone probably has Alzheimers disease if they have age dementia symptoms with progressive problems with memory, and at least one other area of cognitive brain functioning.
-The patient has to be between 40 and 90 years of age, with the absence of any other disease capable of dementia syndrome.
-The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-4th version (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association, offers the following guidelines for Alzheimers diagnosis:
-Doctors can say someone probably has Alzheimers disease if they have memory problems combined with problems speaking, moving or understanding the sensory information they receive.
-The memory problems must be progressive and they can't find anything else responsible for the age dementia symptoms.
-It is easy to see how an Alzheimers diagnosis can be so difficult. A second or even a third opinion is always a good idea.
Alzheimers medicinal treatment is often an experimental effort, as one drug may work very well for some and not at all for others.
Common Alzheimer Medications include:
-Namenda®, which regulates glutamate in the brain, effecting memory and learning ability.
- Razadyne, (formerly Reminyl®)
- Cognex ®
These drugs are cholinesterase inhibitors, which means they delay the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain.
-Used in Mid to Moderate stages of Alzheimers, they may delay or prevent symptoms of alzheimers from getting worse for a limited time.
-May also help with behavioral symptoms for a time.
-Very important for memory and attention and may effect the long-term course of the Alzheimers for some patients.
Anti-psychotics or Neuroleptics
-In Alzheimers treatment, these drugs can be a great help for some in behavioral control of anger, delusions, and can also help with insomnia.
-Most of these drugs have significant side effects, so a balance must be found.
Non-Medical Alzheimers Treatments
There are forms of Alzheimers treatment thought to delay the stages of the disease, and the support and information you receive from your physician can be invaluable to you and your family.
-Additionally, they're finding evidence that Alzheimers may be delayed and the progression slowed with several natural supplements including:
-Antioxidants - Clinical trials have shown that vitamin E may slow the progression of late onset Alzheimers disease and vitamin C and beta-carotene may be helpful as well. They're currently studying antioxidants to see if they may be able to prevent Alzheimers in the future.
-Ginkgo Biloba - Early studies seem to suggest that Ginkgo Biloba may be of some help in Alzheimers treatment, and symptoms may even be delayed.
-Estrogen - Studies have also shown that estrogen protects the brain and may have benefits. (Unfortunately, side effects as well) While there have been no links to estrogen delaying progression it is being studied as a potential preventative to an Alzheimers diagnosis. Time will tell.
-Fish oil and Co-enzyme Q10 is also showing promise.
-Speak to your physician before starting any course of action with any of these, or any supplements. As with drug interactions, some folks can react with certain supplements as well.
-Religion -Religious activities can bring incredible comfort to those with Alzheimers disease, and give them peace and a purpose.
-Music Therapy -Music therapy can help bring back many pleasant memories in a non-stressful way. Whether or not it helps delay the stages for an individual, it is always beneficial.
-Arts and Crafts -Therapy involving the person in any enjoyable activity, creating baskets or other artwork can be very stimulating and therapeutic.
-Pets -Nearly all people respond remarkably well to animals, especially for those suffering a common depression component from Alzheimers. Many nursing homes have found that by having "visiting" pets, visit patients on a regular schedule, can raise the spirits of their residents immensely.
-Non-medical treatments are probably the most important and beneficial of all when started early and continued on a regular basis; they include a heart healthy diet with lots of exercise, quality sleep time, and plenty of social and mentally stimulating activities.
-It cannot be emphasized enough, these activities may even prevent or delay late onset Alzheimers, as well as heart disease and many other mental and physical problems and disorders.
Alzheimers research continues, progress is being made every day, but there has been no cause or cure found for an Alzheimers diagnosis.
-We do know that an early examination and early Alzheimers treatment may help delay it's progression, improve the quality of life, and could also result in the detection of another, more treatable condition.
While almost 5 million Americans have Alzheimers disease, it is predicted that the number will increase to 14 million by 2050, the good news is that they are also developing an early Alzheimers test to predict it.
-They've found that an enzyme called BACE1 is more active in the brains of people with Alzheimers than in people without the disease.
-Testing for the enzyme is possible now, but only with a spinal tap. Because a spinal tap is painful and can cause side effects, scientists are searching for a way to conduct a similar Alzheimers test using a simple blood sample.
-This Alzheimers test could go a long way in not only predicting the disease, but also in ultimately preventing an Alzheimers diagnosis.
earlier Alzheimers diagnosis with automated MRI
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