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The Complete Guide to Treating & Coping With Alzheimer's Disease by Tim Wormald - HTML preview

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Part-I: Introduction

1. Alzheimer's Disease - An Overview

Alzheimer's disease is a common disease and a major cause of death among the elderly today.

German physician, Alois Alzheimer, was the first to identify Alzheimer's disease in 1907. So far, the cause of the disease and any cure for it are unknown.

Until recently, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease was very difficult. The symptoms are similar to natural old age and were often lightly passed over as ‘old age syndrome’.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Although there is no permanent cure for Alzheimer's disease, the best way to prevent it is through early detection. Some common early symptoms of this disease are:

• Difficulty or being unsure while performing routine jobs

• Changes in behavioral patterns like becoming violent or abusive

• Family history of the disease

• Unable to use proper and simple language or common terms in daily conversation

• Unable to remember recent events but easily remember long ago events.

• Misplacing things and keeping them in the most unusual places

• Becoming lost in your own home or street and unable to locate your own home A person with Alzheimer's disease can become disoriented as they lose their normal reasoning and power of judgment. They are unable to function independently. Managing daily activities Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved

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slowly becomes ever more difficult. Their ability to analyze events and communicate with those around them can deteriorate significantly, which causes marked changes in their personality.

How does Alzheimer's Affect Brain Functioning?

Often, brain autopsies of Alzheimer’s patients reveal certain abnormalities. The brain shows growth and entanglement of abnormal fibers with brain tissue filaments. These could be the cause behind various senile patches of degenerated nerve endings. This damage interferes with the normal transmission of brain impulses through the different parts and cells of the brain.

The brain is damaged by Alzheimer's disease. It affects people of any age group, although it is more common among people in their sixties.

Alzheimer's disease is progressive, but the rate of progress differs between individuals. Some succumb to the disease within a few years of diagnosis while others live with it for up to two decades. Severe brain damage can cause death in an otherwise healthy person.

Treatment Options

Psychological tests concentrate on testing your memory, thinking ability and identifying objects.

These tests determine the presence of Alzheimer’s disease and may distinguish between it and other forms of dementia. Sometimes, patients can suffer from temporary dementia problems due to stress or even depression.

So, it is best to conduct tests to find out if it really is Alzheimer’s disease.

Although there is no permanent cure, certain drugs may reduce the deterioration of neurotransmitters of the brain. Such drugs include acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin, which are not steroids and act as anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anticholinesterase inhibition treatment has been used to reduce deposits in the brain, but recent findings nullify the effectiveness of such inhibition treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved

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These deposits targeted by this treatment. accelerate brain cell deterioration and the progress towards imminent death.

Food which is rich in Vitamin B and antioxidants can control degenerative effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is fatal as brain cells slowly lose their capacity to perform and then other vital systems of your body suffer, eventually leading to total failure of body functions. The best option is early detection of the disease so that the best possible treatment options can be undertaken.

Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved

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