How do you know if you have Alzheimer’s Disease?
It usually begins with forgetfulness, confusion and judgement problems, but as the disease progresses, the memory loss becomes more severe.
Essentially, the only real confirmation that a person has Alzheimer’s is after death when an autopsy can be performed to measure the shrinkage of the brain and other various plaque and nerve changes that are present.
Doctors use a series of lab results using a patient’s blood, urine and spinal fluid. Testing using CT, MRI and PET determine abnormal brain formations. Lastly, a doctor will interview a patient and administer memory testing that involved the patient to use their long and short term memory, number processing and determine the patient’s attention span. Therapy involving speaking, memory or thinking skills is used to see the progression of the disease over time.
Even with all these tests, a doctor has to perform a sort of process of elimination to determine whether symptoms are a result of a minor stroke, dementia, cognitive impairment or other conditions that mimics that of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Suddenly one day, things that were part of normal everyday life becomes difficult to do and they have problems remembering how and when to do them, they have Anxiety, can’t sleep and may begin to wander. The memory of people in relation to their lives and their relationships becomes confused. Alzheimer individuals have trouble with processing numbers in their head and processing information. By the time the disease is full blown, they become debilitated; lose their speech, appetite and bladder and bowel control. They need 24 hour attention and care as they cannot care for themselves anymore.
Phrases and words, basic communication becomes forgetful and impaired. As the disease progresses, they may get restless, confused and become aggressive, exhibit depression and anxiety disorders as they get frustrated not remembering things. The disease could last for tens of years progressing slowing or quickly depending on the individual, but these individuals need to have monitored daily care and cannot live alone.
Outside of forgetfulness, Alzheimer patients gradually lose short term memory. They won’t remember recent events, people or even things about themselves. They may start repeating themselves over and over again about the same thing. They will have Long term memory and remember things that happened years ago, their childhood and events from long ago, because long term memory is the last to go.
There is no cure currently for Alzheimer’s but there are medicine’s that that delay the progression of the symptoms of the disease.
Scientists and doctors have been feverishly trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Even though Alzheimer’s disease has no age, it is less common for it to appear in people who are under the age of 65. The rate of decline and course of the disease progression varies from individual to individual. According to the National Institute of Neurological and Stroke has determined that high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors contribute to getting the disease.
Here are 3 breakthrough Alzheimer Drug advances that are showing promise to curing the progress of the disease:
1. There is a break through drug that halts Alzheimers disease from progressing further called Alzhemed and it is produced by Neurochem (877-680-4500). Studies are still being done, but knowing that half of the people with Alzheimers studied show the disease stabilized. This report was made by Dr. Paul Aisen at Georgetown University in Washington.
2. There is another breakthrough out of England called Rember. Rember is said to have shown untangling of the brain and prevent the tangles from occurring. The blood and oxygen to the nerves and cells in the brain are shown to repair themselves with this drug. Scientists are looking to use this drug to test people in their 50’s, to prevent symptoms from becoming full blown Alzheimer;s in their later years of life. This could be on the market by 2012. Larger studies and trials are still needed to secure the safety of this drug and how this could benefit the thousands living currently with this disease. Dr. Claude Wischik led this study in England. They suspect that the cost of this medication might halt the distribution to other nations.
3. Dr. Veronica Cech and Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease center in Chicago, IL (866-761-7806) have had success in trials with Alzheimer patients. They deliver the drug Cere 110 deep into the brain with this one of a kind gene transfer therapy using very thin needles. These drugs are safely targeted to the damaged and deteriorated brain cells and nerves and there is no risk of it going all over where there could be possible side effects. Alzheimer patients in this study are seeing a reversing of symptoms, especially memory loss with this treatment.
What can we do to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s?
1. Avoid aluminum absorption. Aluminum is added to many products to avoid caking. Use sea salt instead of table salt; limit your use for non dairy creamers, antacids, foods in cans, aluminum cookware. Antiperspirants have aluminum in them, but it is a daily necessity, finding a natural antiperspirant without aluminum could benefit.
2. Being Overweight can cause type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes increases the chance for developing Alzheimer’s and is twice more likely than someone without it. When there is too much inflammation and insulin in the brain, which can stimulate other build up of hormones that cause Alzheimer’s.
3. Get your B12 vitamins. When you get your annual blood work done by your doctor, make sure you have your B12 levels tested. Your levels should be no less than 540. If they are suggest to your doctor that you would like B12 shots, which are administered during the course of a year, usually up to 15 shots. If your doctor won’t give them to you, take charge of your health and buy a strong multivitamin with large doses of B12. Include omega 3 foods 3-4 servings per week to include salmon and tuna. Amazingly enough, this omega 3 and increased fish intake may also help your mental health and depression.
4. Taking an aspirin a day or willow bark can help prevent strokes. Many mini strokes is what the medical community believes is what Alzheimer’s really is.
5. Get your vitamin E daily. Just a handful of nuts or seeds per day or 400 IU’s of vitamin E capsule will help you fight against Alzheimer’s.
6. Drink your coffee. Harvard University, the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute of Tampa, Fla. And Rutgers University has done studies over the past 18 years about the effects of coffee and diseases. What was discovered was that diabetes decreased in men and women from drinking multiple cups of coffee per day. Additionally, drinking cups of coffee daily can reduce the risks of Parkinson’s disease, color cancer, gallstones, asthma, mood swings, headaches, cirrhosis. Lab rats injected with coffee either reduced their risks of preventing Alzheimer’s or reduced the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It is believed that drinking multiple cups of coffee in humans can do the same thing.
7. Keep your brain active. Do lots of reading, puzzles and thought invoking activities.
8. Reduce stress. It seems easier said than done, but, if there is a way you can take one or two steps back from your daily stress, this will help your mind and body.
9. Control your cholesterol and hypertension. Yes, there are drugs to help with this but getting exercise and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle to include walking every day can help with both. Also, minimize high fat dairy products and processed foods. Exercise is effective in reducing the probability of Alzheimer’s and other dementias over your whole life. The mayo clinic reports that exercise may be the most important component to preventing this and many other diseases.
10. Avoid anything that may cause a head injury.
11. Limit the alcohol intake and stop smoking. If you start smoking after the age of 65, you increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 80%.
12. Sleep – this is how we restore and repair our mind and consolidate what we have accomplished that day. if you are not getting 7-8 hours per day then think about making changes to your life that will slow you down and perhaps take a short nap in the day and get the rest of the zzzz’s at night.
13. Avoid multi tasking. If the brain is doing more than one thing at a time, the brain may feel stress and encounter tangles as a result, and over long periods of time these tangles may develop into Alzheimer’s disease. Our society has made it so that most of us are juggling multiple balls in the air at all times. The shift is now changing. Focus on one thing at a time.
Progress is being made every day all over the world. A cure is out there. There are Alzheimer’s research foundations that have wonderful supporters and we will irraticate this disease one day. Believe it and it will happen. View 10 mountains 10 years on facebook, a movie still in the film festival about hikers and their trials and plight climbing the highest mountains in the world representing the struggles of Alzheimer disease.
sources: Neurochem, Georgetown university in Washington, Rush Alzheimer Disease center in Chicago, IL, Harvard University, The Byrd Alzheimer Institute of Tampa, Fl, Rudgers University