Chances are, you know someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or a person whose relative suffers from the condition. Alzheimer’s is very common, especially in older people. According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that affects cognitive functions like memory and thought processes. It can cause someone to struggle with completing simple tasks, like brushing your teeth, and it can impair a person’s ability to remember names, faces, and their past history.
Living with Alzheimer’s, either directly or indirectly, is exceptionally challenging. Losing or watching someone lose part of themselves can be very troubling. One of the difficulties with Alzheimer’s Disease is that it can vary widely. Some people experience minor symptoms, while others will require full-time care.
Understanding Alzheimer’s is an important step toward noticing and treating symptoms early. Even though Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia in older adults, there are things you can do to slow signs and improve your quality of life. While there is currently no cure for the disease, there are medicines available that can reduce its effects to help people cope with their condition. Here’s some helpful information on Alzheimer’s and what you need to know.
The Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In the early 20th century, Dr. Alzheimer studied the brain tissue of a dead woman who died with unexplained cognitive impairments. When looking at brain tissue, the doctor discovered strange clumps of plaque tangled in fibers inside of the brain. These are now called amyloid plaques.
These plaques, along with nerve damage in the brain, are the primary indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease. There are other types of dementia that affect memory, etc., but the presence of Amyloid plaques is almost always attributed to Alzheimer’s. Usually, they are most concentrated in areas having to do with memory and grow from there.
Usually, people start seeing signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease at around age 60-70. It can start with what many people dismiss as forgetfulness. First, they struggle to remember the names of faces and places they’ve been. Eventually, recalling simple facts becomes more difficult. Then, patients start to lose their sense of place and time. Finally, they forget people around them like children or spouses. Often, people with Alzheimer’s become lost and can’t remember how to get home.
Memory loss isn’t the only side effect of Alzheimer’s Disease. Typically, patients lose the ability to perform tasks like driving a car, paying for a check at a restaurant, or even doing the laundry. They simply can’t remember how to do things. As a result, it’s normal for patients to feel frustrated or even become angry over their inability to do what they once did with ease.
The rapid breakdown in the brain and the lack of a cure mean that death is almost a certainty. However, the time from diagnosis to death varies widely. People often live with Alzheimer’s Disease for ten years or more.
Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
As previously stated, currently, there is no cure for the disease. There are, however, billions of dollars pouring into studying the condition and potential treatments. For example, prescription medicines designed to improve brain nerve communication have been effective in slowing the onslaught of symptoms. There are also treatments to help reduce some of the anger, anxiety, and delusions that come with later-stage Alzheimer’s. Likewise, antidepressants are a common treatment method for people who struggle with a diagnosis.
Researchers also know that decreased glutathione levels are associated with neurodegenerative disease. New research indicates that glutathione is a very effective mediator of iron-dependent cell death. In people without proper glutathione levels, cell death impacts the central nervous system and can cause premature aging and earlier neurodegenerative disease. Thankfully, there are studies that have shown that the research peptides are used to supplement glutathione levels and prevent early aging processes.
People with Alzheimer’s Disease can also engage trained professionals and occupational therapists to retrain patients in normal tasks and learning. Constantly engaging the brain helps slow the cognitive decline and maintain normal functions for longer. They can also work with patients on memory improvement by using things like photos and developing memory triggers to help patients remember faces and other memories. With Alzheimer’s, it’s about small wins.
While it’s impossible to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, these therapies can help people cope and deal with the frustration and depression that comes with a diagnosis.