Alzheimer's disease: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Alzheimer's disease is an age-related disease, the symptoms of which are characterized by the gradual extinction of mental abilities, namely: loss of memory, speech changes, lack of logical thinking.Manifestations of the disease are observed in people older than 65 years.Table of contents: Causes of the disease Symptoms and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease Complications of the disease Diagnosis Treatment of Alzheimer's disease
Causes of the disease
Specialists say that most often the development of Alzheimer's disease is manifested in people with low intellectual development levelUnskilled work.The presence of developed intelligence reduces the likelihood of this disease, as between the nerve cells in this case, there are more connections.In this case, the functions performed by the dead cells are transferred to others previously not involved.However, there are a lot of cases of this illness among the cleverest people of the time.This disease suffered former US President Ronald Reagan, Irish writer Iris Murdoch, writer Terry Pratchett, former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, actors Peter Falk, Annie Girardot, Charlton Heston and others.
The most common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease occur in women.According to experts, this is due to their longer life expectancy.It is known that most men die early, even before the possible onset of age-related dementia.
With the development of this disease, the so-called senile plaques are deposited in the brain and neurofibrillary glomeruli are formed.These processes destroy the nerve pathways in the brain tissue.
What is the true cause of Alzheimer's disease - is not known to this day.However, the researchers found genes responsible for the predisposition to this disease.It is proved that extensive destruction of the nerve cells of the brain leads to the loss of mental abilities.
The risk group includes people :
- prone to depressive states;
- having a genetic predisposition;
- caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease.
A person who has been engaged in active mental activity all his life, is less susceptible to the development of age-related dementia.It is believed that the disease occurs due to a lack of special substances responsible for nerve impulses, as well as because of hypothyroidism, head injuries, tumors and much more.
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
It is very difficult to detect this disease when it is just starting to appear.Often, the relatives of the ill do not take seriously the first "bells" and refer them to the number of age-related phenomena.
The main features of early Alzheimer's disease include:
- is a constant concern;
- emotional disorders;
- bad memory;
- violation of orientation in reality.
Note: is the main sign of the development of the disease - complaints about the inability to do simple calculations.The handwriting becomes different, hallucinations appear, the person begins to rave.However, only a specialist, taking into account the whole picture of what is happening, the symptoms and an additional examination, can make an appropriate diagnosis.
The development of the disease begins with the increasing loss of memory.At an early stage, the disease is invisible to others, as people try to hide such phenomena.Then the patient forgets everything that happened to him earlier.Over time, he ceases to orient himself in space, forgets everything he has learned.At first a person simply can not remember recent events, and with the passage of time and with the progression of the disease, he loses old memories.He ceases to recognize the person, forgets the difference between color and form.Speech becomes illegible.
Strengthen the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can:
- loneliness for a long time;
- a cluster of strangers;
- unfamiliar objects and environment;
- taking medications in large quantities.
Complications of the disease
Active development of the disease reduces a person's ability to independent thinking, movement.Patients with Alzheimer's disease stop recognizing close people, do not remember their age and key life moments.They seem to be stuck in the past and can imagine themselves still young.In addition, at this stage of Alzheimer's disease, there is a violation of domestic skills.
The person forgets how:
- dress up;
- use the cutlery;
- to perform toilet and hygienic procedures;
- to eat.
The patient loses the ability to read, write, read, forget words, confining himself to their stereotypical set, losing orientation in the time of day, the ability to swallow food.Such a person can experience great apathy or vice versa - aggression.
Note: at a deep stage of the disease the patient is unable to exist independently and needs care, feeding.Cure this disease is not possible.
How many people live with Alzheimer's?According to statistics, the average life expectancy from the moment of diagnosis is less than seven years.However, some patients can live up to twenty years.
It is important to know that complications of the disease can cause:
- all kinds of injuries;
- infectious diseases.
Therefore, diagnosing at the beginning of the development of ailment is a very important point.It is necessary to ensure that a relative of the elderly is regularly examined and at the first suspicions urgently appealed to a specialist.
Note: in the course of disease progression it is important to take measures and support the patient's self-care skills, to surround him with attention and to prevent the development of depressive conditions.
If the first signs of Alzheimer's disease have appeared, then an urgent examination is necessary.For diagnosis, questionnaires have been developed that help determine the presence of the disease.In addition, you will need to pass additional tests, go through a tomography scan, a cardiogram, examine the thyroid gland, and make an enceography.Also, a specialist can prescribe a PET scan of the brain.
The diagnosis is established taking into account the patient's life history, the stories of his relatives, based on the received results of analyzes, hereditary data, and by eliminating alternative diseases.All existing methods of diagnosing the disease make it possible to give the most accurate assessment of the patient's existing condition.Sometimes the final diagnosis is established only by biopsy of brain tissue or already posthumously.
Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
Unfortunately, as yet there is no therapy that can cope with this disease.However, there are many ways to prevent and slow it down, allowing people to prolong their lives, support their social functioning, facilitate their care, and partially compensate for the violation of their psychological state.
The essence of therapy for Alzheimer's disease lies in a clear selection of effective medications, according to the individual characteristics of the person.
Please Note: is very important for attentive care of the patient at home.The need for a hospital is justified only in the presence of dangerous mental disorders and inadequate behavior.In other cases, it can harm the patient.
Medications that can be used to relieve the condition are very expensive.In addition, they have a lot of side effects and are not always effective.Remember that there are no special drugs to treat this disease.
Important: for the first symptoms of the disease should be addressed to a neurologist.
What a specialist can do:
- Inspects the patient.
- Will advise relatives on the rules of care for him.
- Prescribes treatment with drugs that slow the progression of the disease.
- Send to the psychiatrist, gerontologist and other doctors for additional examinations.
Drugs and Drugs for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
There are several drugs that alleviate the condition of patients.They are approved by the well-known regulatory agencies EMEA and FDA.With the help of these medicines, therapy is carried out aimed at improving memory and orientation in space.However, none of them can stop the development of the disease.
In modern medicine, medicines such as "Galantamine", "Donepezil" and "Rivastigmine" are used.Their positive impact is observed only at the onset of the disease and at a moderate stage.In the presence of a highly developed disease, "Donepezil" is prescribed.
Please note: doses of individual preparations are selected by the attending physician.All medicines have contraindications and side effects.
The known drug "Memantine" is prescribed for moderate and severe disease.However, it can cause dizziness, hallucinations, fatigue and migraines.If it is used in conjunction with Donepezil, then you can get a subtle positive result: memory improves, there is the ability to take care of yourself.
The use of antipsychotics in acute aggression improves the patient's condition, but it impairs motor abilities and worsens the level of social functioning.Regular use of these drugs is not recommended.
Treatment with folk remedies
Traditional medicine recipes will not help eradicate the disease, but they will significantly reduce its manifestations, easing the patient's condition.
It is worth introducing green and black tea in the diet.These drinks stimulate brain activity.You can also take soy lecithin.The dosage is up to 3 grams per day.
In the complex therapy, such decoctions can be used:
- The ginseng root and Schizandra berries are taken in equal parts and poured with boiling water at the rate of 10 grams per liter.Brew for about ten minutes and drink for several meals throughout the day.
- The root of Vitanya is boiled in 200 ml of water until 15 minutes.The broth should be drunk in two divided doses throughout the day.Prepare delicious and healthy tea from St. John's wort and heather.It is an effective antidepressant.
- The root of the Dioscorean of the Caucasus is filled with vodka.The proportion is 1 to 10. In a dark place, leave the liquid for 2 weeks, and then filter and take one teaspoon three times a day.
It is also used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease for heart failure.It normalizes the activity of the nervous system and lowers blood pressure.
According to recent studies, it has become known that curcumin will help prevent some changes in the brain.This substance is a part of the root of the famous turmeric plant.This seasoning is popular not only in eastern countries, but also in Russia.It can be added to the first and second dishes, bake meat with it, and season with pilaf.There are preparations containing the root extract of turmeric.The expediency of their reception should be discussed with the attending physician.
Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease
The best ways to prevent disease are considered :
- intellectual activity;
- is a game of chess;
- crossword solution;
- regular communication with people.
However, according to medical observations, there is no clear evidence of the effectiveness of such measures.Epidemiological studies have shown that a special diet, the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and active thinking processes are also capable of preventing the onset of the disease.
When symptoms of Alzheimer appear, and to prevent its development, experts recommend adhering to the Mediterranean diet.It is necessary to introduce in the diet vegetables, cereals, fruits, red wine and fish dishes.Vitamins, especially B3 and B12, ascorbic and folic acid, also reduce the risk of the disease.
It is strictly forbidden to smoke and take alcohol( except for a small amount of red wine).We must focus on citrus fruits, as well as seafood, rich in folate.
The amount of fluid used should be monitored.The normal volume should not be less than 1.5 liters per day.
Beekeeping products are very effective in the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.The patient should eat at least 3 tablespoons of honey per day, which leads to better memory and slowing down the braking functions of the brain.
Trofimova Yaroslava, medical reviewer