Caregiving someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, so understanding what is happening and how best to support them is important. By employing some simple strategies, you could potentially reduce progression.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia, characterized by memory loss and other cognitive problems. It occurs when amyloid plaque and tau protein tangles build up in the brain and destroy nerve cells, leading to memory loss and cognitive issues. Researchers do not know exactly why plaque and tangles form. However they speculate that genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors may increase risk of Alzheimer’s.
Studies suggest that certain foods such as blueberries, leafy greens and curcumin (found in turmeric spice) could offer protection from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. However, more research needs to be completed.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia tend to present other health concerns, including high blood pressure and diabetes, which can be prevented or treated. People living with these diseases can reduce their risk by managing them using medications and lifestyle changes.
Healthcare providers can aid in Alzheimer’s prevention by performing an examination and ordering standard medical tests. Questions will be asked regarding previous and current behavior. Additionally, mental status examinations including tests for problem-solving abilities, attention, basic math calculations, and language comprehension will also be conducted.
Physical examination and blood testing can both play an integral part in diagnosing Alzheimer’s. A healthcare provider will examine your brain for signs of inflammation or damage to nerve cells, and also order laboratory tests to check levels of certain chemicals such as acetylcholine and amyloid beta in your system.
Alzheimer’s has no known cure, but medications may alleviate some symptoms and slow its progress. The FDA has approved two Alzheimer’s medications – memantine (Namenda) and donepezil (Aricept(r)) which block an enzyme responsible for degrading acetylcholine production – one of the chemical messengers nerve cells use to communicate between each other.
No prevention or risk-management strategy has reached the point where we can confidently prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementias. A randomized clinical trial is the gold standard for showing cause and effect.
Those with Alzheimer’s disease commonly experience changes in their sleep patterns. Talk to your doctor or sleep specialist in The Air Station for more details about sleep disorders and sleep apnea machine treatment based on the current sleep condition.