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by Internet Medical Society

The Treatment and Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, which causes memory loss and cognitive and behavioural difficulties that can interfere with a person’s everyday life. Since this is a progressive disease, the symptoms develop slowly, gradually becoming worse. Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are preventive measures that can help a person reduce the risk of developing this disease and treatments that can alleviate the symptoms to a certain extent. Therefore, it’s essential that you implement possible prevention strategies and react as soon as you notice the first signs of Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms

The first and most common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is the inability to remember information that you’ve learnt recently. With the advancement of this disease, other symptoms begin to manifest themselves. A person may have frequent changes in mood and behaviour, become disoriented and start confusing events and time. Eventually, more severe symptoms occur, including significant memory loss, serious behavioural changes and difficulties with speaking, walking and swallowing. Since people suffering from Alzheimer’s have difficulties recognising the symptoms themselves, family and friends should react immediately and schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Treatment

Depending on the age, health and progress of Alzheimer’s in a patient, doctors will prescribe an appropriate treatment. Treatments usually involve medications that can alleviate the symptoms by breaking down acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that affects learning and memory. Numerous studies are being conducted in the attempt to find other ways to treat Alzheimer’s, for example the application of supplements, such as vitamin E, coral calcium, ginkgo biloba and others. However, there is still no evidence that these supplements play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Prevention

Studies have shown that there are certain measures that people with risk factors for Alzheimer’s can implement to lower the risk of developing the disease. There’s still no firm evidence that these preventive measures can completely eliminate the risk, but they can certainly ensure better brain health.

Regular exercise

Exercising regularly is one of the strategies that can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, by increasing oxygen and blood flow in the brain, which benefits the brain cells. Research has shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk by up to 50% and alleviate the symptoms in people with this disease.

A healthy diet

A healthy and balanced diet is another preventive measure that contributes to brain health. The Mediterranean diet, as well as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, both of which emphasise fruits, vegetables and whole grains, among other ingredients.

Social engagement and mental stimulation

Mental activity and social engagement can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although the exact reason behind this isn’t clear, it’s believed that social and mental stimulation activate certain mechanisms in the brain and strengthen nerve connections.

Quality sleep and stress management

New studies suggest that disrupted sleep might be linked to higher levels of beta-amyloid, a type of protein that clogs the brain and interferes with sleep. In addition, severe and constant exposure to stress can also affect a person’s brain health and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, by causing the memory area to shrink and impeding the growth of nerve cells.

Caregiving

People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease require constant care and attention, but caregiving might be too difficult for family members, because they cannot watch their loved one slowly decline. If a family member decides to take care of a person suffering from this disease, it’s essential that they take care of their health, as well. Another possible option is hiring professional caregiving services as a form of help. However, it’s vital that you find reliable caregivers, so before hiring anyone, you should browse through InfoCare, a service that deals with the comparison of care providers and offers plenty of necessary and helpful data. This way, you can find a trustworthy caregiver who will help you take care of your loved one.

Although there’s still no cure for Alzheimer’s, you can minimise the risk of developing this disease by implementing these preventive measures. If you notice any signs of Alzheimer’s, seek professional help as soon as possible to alleviate the symptoms.

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