Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a generalized term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities that are considered serious enough to interfere with daily life and operations. It accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. It is a progressive disease that worsens with time.
As Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, behaviors and anxieties can change. This will change the role of caregivers as the style and manner of care can change, as well. Because these behaviors can be challenging, it is important for caregivers to receive ongoing support and education to improve their lives and the life of their loved one.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Although its greatest risk factors is advanced or increasing age, the majority of which are 65 years of age or older, but it is not a disease of old age. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. On average, persons with Alzheimer’s will live 4-8 years post-diagnosis, though they can live as long as 20 or more years.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a generalized term for the decline in mental ability that is considered severe enough to interfere with daily life and operations. Memory loss is a common symptom. The most common form of Alzheimer’s is dementia. Dementia is not considered a specific disease, but instead describes a family of symptoms associated with a decline in memory and/or cognitive ability. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s, followed by vascular dementia, which can occur after a stroke.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia vary greatly. However, there are some core mental and cognitive abilities that must be significantly impaired for it to be considered dementia. It is crucial to receive proper medical care if you suspect that you or a loved one may have dementia. People with dementia may have a problem with short term memory, such as finding a purse or a wallet. They may struggle with paying bills and remembering appointments.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Memory loss.
- Impaired communication and language.
- Reduced focus or ability to pay attention.
- Interference with reasoning or judgment.
- Disrupted visual perception.
Treatments for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are complex conditions. Current approaches aim to help patients maintain mental function and behavioral symptoms to slow down disease progression. There are several prescription drugs used by the U.S. to treat people who have been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Most medications work best when the disease is diagnosed in the early or middle stages.
Medications called cholinesterase inhibitors, such as Razadyne, Exelon, and Aricept, are prescribed for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They may reduce some unpleasant symptoms and control behavioral issues.
For more advanced cases, an N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist called Namenda, is prescribed. This serves to decrease symptoms, which has the possibility of helping patients maintain certain daily operations.
Who Is at Risk for Developing Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. These damages result in an interference with the brain cells to communicate with each other. When they cannot communicate properly, normal thinking and behavioral abilities can be affected. It’s important to remember that the brain has several distinct regions and damage to these regions can result in a loss of memory, judgment, or motor function if the cells in these regions are damaged.
AMA medical group was founded to support every member of the community. If you or a loved one have dementia or Alzheimer’s and are experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us at (727) 331-8740 to schedule an appointment.