If you or a loved one is concerned about receiving an Alzheimer's diagnosis, because of the age of 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 will 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 relieve stress .
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If it is an Alzheimer's diagnosis, there will be more time to make what will surely be difficult choices, and plan for the future.
-As with any disease, the sooner it is discovered, the better the chances are of benefiting from any and all Alzheimer's 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, 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 Alzheimer's diagnosis.
3 Types of Alzheimer's Disease
About 10% of those receiving an Alzheimer's diagnosis will have Early Onset Alzheimer's disease.
-Early onset Alzheimer's is a rare form that typically occurs in people in there 50's and 60's .
Less than 1% will be diagnosed with Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) , where a genetic predisposition leads to 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 for at least 2 generations.
Ninety percent of all Alzheimer's diagnoses will be the most common form, or Late Onset Alzheimer's disease.
-It typically strikes after the age of 65.
-This type of Alzheimer's may or may not be hereditary.
50% of all people over the age of 85 will fall victim to late onset Alzheimer's. (Also known as Sporadic Alzheimer's)
Doctors are establishing maternal genetic links between late onset Alzheimer's, and their children developing the disease.
- Age is still the strongest risk factor for a late onset Alzheimer's diagnosis, with the number of people with Alzheimer's doubling every 5 years beyond the age of 65.
-Health also plays an important role in the development of Alzheimer's. In fact, according to Bill Thies, the scientific director of the Alzheimer's Association, "The link between heart disease and Alzheimer's disease is growing in strength every few months, and we predict it will continue to grow."
Heart disease , like Alzheimer's (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 of developing it themselves.
Cholesterol and Alzheimer's
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 Alzheimer's patients, and many scientists believe these plaques may be responsible for the destruction of brain cells, and may even be the cause of Alzheimer's disease.
We know that plaque can lead to heart attacks when found in the 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 Alzheimer's so tightly linked, it means it's equally important to take great care of your heart, monitor your blood pressure and guard against heart disease, as it may well be a precursor for Alzheimer's disease.
Diagnosing Alzheimer's is very difficult, and while it is becoming better understood, there are many forms of age dementia symptoms, and there is still much misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's.
-The National Institute for Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) , in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association (ADRDA) , offers the following Alzheimer's diagnosis guidelines:
-A doctor can say someone probably has Alzheimer's 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 følgende guidelines for Alzheimer's diagnosis:
-Doctors can say someone probably has Alzheimer's 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's easy to see how an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be so difficult. A second or even a third opinion is always a good idea.
Alzheimer's medical 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 Alzheimer's, they may delay or prevent Alzheimer's symptoms 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 Alzheimer's for some patients.
Anti-psychotics or Neuroleptics
-In Alzheimer's 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 Alzheimer's Treatments
There are forms of Alzheimer's 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 Alzheimer's may be delayed and the progression slowed down with several natural supplements including:
Antioxidants - Clinical trials have shown that vitamin E may slow the progression of late onset Alzheimer's disease and vitamin C and beta-carotene may be helpful as well. They are currently studying antioxidants to see if they may be able to prevent Alzheimer's in the future.
-Ginkgo Biloba - Early studies seem to suggest that Ginkgo Biloba may be of some help in Alzheimer's 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 delay progression it is being studied as a potential preventative to an Alzheimer's 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 may react with certain supplements as well.
-Religion -Religious activities can bring incredible comfort to those with Alzheimer's disease, and give them peace and 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 from a common depression component from Alzheimer's. Many nursing homes have found that by having "visiting" pets, visiting 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 Alzheimer's, as well as heart disease and many other mental and physical problems and disorders.
Alzheimer's research continues, progress is being made every day, but no cause or cure has been found for an Alzheimer's diagnosis.
-We do knowthat an early examination and early Alzheimer's treatment kan help delay it's progression, forbedre livskvaliteten, and kan også result in the detection of another, more treatable condition .
While almost 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's 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 Alzheimer's test to predict it.
-They've found that an enzyme called BACE1 is more active in the brains of people with Alzheimer's 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 Alzheimer's test using a simple blood sample .
-This Alzheimer's test could go a long way in not only predicting the disease, but also ultimately preventing an Alzheimer's diagnosis.
earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis with automated MRI
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