Alzheimer’s Disease

Natural treatments for the symptoms of alzheimer's disease and preventing alzheimer's symptoms.

natural remedy for preventing alzheimer's symptoms

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  1. What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
  2. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease
  3. What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?
  4. Help for Alzheimer’s Disease
  5. More Information on Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (or Alzheimer’s syndrome) is the most common form of dementia.

Dementia is a group of brain disorders that gradually destroys brain cells and impairs the ability to function effectively in daily life. Cognitive functioning is slowly affected (memory, reason, judgment, and communication), making it increasingly difficult to carry out daily tasks and activities.

Personality can be also be affected by Alzheimer’s, and behaviors may begin to change as the disease progresses. Characteristically, symptoms of Alzheimer's disease includes becoming anxious, suspicious, or agitated.

In its most severe form, people with Alzheimer’s often reach the stage where they are unable to respond appropriately to their environment and are unable to speak and control their movements.

Because Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 10% percent of people over 65 and nearly 50% of people over 85 years of age, this form of dementia continues to be the focus of a great deal of research.

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease

There is no single lab test that can confirm the presence of Alzheimer’s disease, therefore the process of assessing a potential Alzheimer's patient can sometimes be a fairly lengthy one.

A complete medical checkup is often administered (including blood tests) to rule out other causes of dementia like thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, or mini-strokes - all of which can cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s.

It may be necessary to provide the doctor with a detailed medical history, noting both past and present medical problems, as well as whether anyone in the family has ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or exhibit behaviors similar to those of Alzheimer's symptoms.

Another important step in diagnosing the disease is noting when the Alzheimer's symptoms began, their frequency, and progression. Keeping notes is a good idea if possible, because the doctor may also want to know specific details like dates and times.

In some cases your practitioner may even suggest a brain scan such as a CT scan or MRI to check for any signs of a stroke or structural brain abnormality.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

It is normal to forget the occasional detail - the name of someone that you rarely see, the exact place you left the car keys, or trying to find your sunglasses-- only to realize they are sitting on your head!

This mild memory loss is a normal part of aging and happens in varying degrees to most of us. However, while the brain naturally deteriorates with age, Alzheimer’s is associated with the rapid onset of brain degeneration.

Severe memory loss and cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s should not be ignored or trivialized.

The following are common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:

Memory and learning impairment – People with Alzheimer’s start out with slight memory loss and often have difficulty learning new tasks or information. As their memory loss progresses, they will begin to forget more important details and old facts and will often repeat conversations, having forgotten what they’ve just said. Sometimes they will fill in the gaps by making up stories (confabulation). They may begin to forget what they were doing mid-task or forget where they are, causing them to frequently feel lost in familiar surroundings. This can be extremely traumatic.

Difficulties with language – Language is often affected as the individual struggles to find the right word, or express thoughts in words. It may be difficult to follow conversations, and eventually writing and reading are also affected.

Motor difficulties – A person with Alzheimer’s may struggle with motor activities such as coordination.

Difficulty recognizing common objects or familiar items or people – This is a common symptom and is very distressing for both the diagnosed and their loved ones.

Disturbance in executive functioning – This is the part of our minds that allows us to follow actions through in an orderly and logical way. People with Alzheimer’s will often struggle to plan and organize even simple tasks. Day-to-day functioning becomes extremely difficult and eventually impossible, as even the simple sequence of events necessary for a bath becomes confusing. Cooking, driving, cleaning, and dressing become tasks that they can no longer carry out. Judgment becomes impaired, and when faced with a problem like an overflowing pot, a person with Alzheimer’s can find themselves without the skills to correct it.

Difficulty with abstract thinking – People with Alzheimer’s struggle to perform abstract tasks and often can no longer do even simple math problems or work with numbers.

Changes in personality – It is fairly common to notice personality changes in those with Alzheimer’s. They may experience mood swings, irritability, and act in ways that are uncharacteristic of their normal behavior.

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What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet known, however, certain factors tend to place a percentage of people at higher risk than others.

If you are concerned about memory loss, loss of cognitive skills or feelings of disorientation, you should seek further assessment from a health care practitioner. Sometimes, dementia may be present because of thyroid problems, depression, or other medical conditions that may be treatable. Measures can also be taken in preventing Alzheimer's.

If Alzheimer’s is confirmed, an early diagnosis is beneficial - giving the individual and their family adequate time to explore treatment options and a maintenance plan. Early treatment may also relieve Alzheimer's symptoms and slow down the degenerative process.

High Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease

Age – Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the elderly. While there are cases of Alzheimer’s developing in people under the age of 40, this is incredibly rare, as most people diagnosed are over 65. After age 65, every passing year doubles the chance of Alzheimer’s - after age 85, the risk is as high as nearly 50%.

Genetics – Research has shown that it may be genetic. Chances of developing Alzheimer’s are greater for those with diagnosed family members.

Sex – Alzheimer’s tends to affect more women than men, although this is partly due to the fact that women tend to live longer.

Lifestyle – An unhealthy lifestyle could increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Constant high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart-problems, excessive weight, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake can compromise the brain’s effectiveness, thus increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Head-injury – Studies have shown that there is a link between head-injuries and the future development of Alzheimer’s (especially head injuries that involve a prolonged loss of consciousness and concussion).

Education levels – Some studies reveal that people who attained a lower level of education are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This may be due to the fact that as you learn, your brain produces more mental ‘pathways’ and makes connections that last a lifetime. This constant ‘upkeep’ of the brain may keep mental health problems at bay.

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Help for Alzheimer’s Disease

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There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are a number of treatment options available to improve quality of life, slow down the progression of the disease, relieve Alzheimer's symptoms, and help in preventing Alzheimer's.

Most symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be treated successfully using a combination of the available treatment methods.

Often people are not aware that treatment options other than traditional drug therapy are available. Alternative treatments, including natural remedies, can offer a safe and effective treatment approach.

These alternative treatments are free of chemicals, propose a much lower risk of side effects, and can be safely incorporated into the broader treatment plan.

Drug Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease

Two types of medications have been shown to slow the cognitive decline related with Alzheimer's. Cholinesterase inhibitors work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, thus slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s in people with declining cognitive capacity.

These drugs don’t work for about half of those who take them, and the side effects can be severe, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Memantine (Namenda) was developed to help protect the brain cells against damage caused by Alzheimer’s, although this drug’s use is often discontinued due to side effects such as delusions, agitation, and dizziness. Other medications that may be prescribed include those used to treat anxiety and depression.

It is strongly advised that you thoroughly research any prescription medication and its side effects before agreeing to drug therapy.

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Treating Alzheimer's Disease Naturally

There are numerous natural remedies that have been shown to decrease memory loss and improve cognitive functioning. A substantial benefit of a natural approach is that it offers the curative properties of conventional medicine without any of the side effects (which are often more debilitating than the disorder itself).

Some examples of natural herbs recommended for relieving Alzheimer's symptoms include Ginkgo biloba, Rosemary, and Sage. Taken regularly, these herbs have been clinically shown to improve memory and cerebral blood flow to the brain, thus helping the brain to perform its functions while reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease.

While there is a place for prescription medication in certain cases of Alzheimer’s disease, careful consideration and caution should be taken regarding possible side effects.

There are also alternative treatment options available for treating adults with hyperactivity. Making simple changes in diet, sleep, exercise, and routine can help in preventing Alzheimer's.

Even trying more involved approaches like incorporating relaxation therapies, ranging from guided imagery, meditation techniques, and yoga can be beneficial.

There are also many herbal and homeopathic remedies which can help maintain harmony, health and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system, without side effects or sedation. These products are known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system and circulatory health, and well-being.

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More Information on Alzheimer’s Disease

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Live a healthy lifestyle. Get plenty of exercise, sleep, and eat a well-balanced diet. Stress management is also a fundamental aspect, and will help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Take care of your heart. An unhealthy heart means less efficient blood flow to the brain. Take steps to improve the health of your heart by losing weight, lowering cholesterol, doing cardiovascular exercise and relaxation techniques.

Keep an active mind, as t his will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Use natural products that contain vitamin E and Ginkgo. These have both been proven to improve cognitive ability.

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Tips for coping with Alzheimer’s Disease

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s does not mean your life is over. You can still live a happy life, but you may need to make a few changes and accept some things will just be different.

Live a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting enough rest. This will help your brain to function at its best.

Take steps to look after your emotional well-being by seeing a counselor, joining a support group, or starting a journal. You will probably experience a range of difficult thoughts and emotions as you come to terms with your diagnosis - denial, anger, frustration, depression. It is important to acknowledge and deal with these emotions.

Tell your friends and family and let them know how and when to help. Remember that this will be a big change for them too, and so they need to know what to expect.

Keep doing activities that you enjoy and adjust them to your changing abilities.

Ask for help When things become difficult, arrange for someone to help you. Try doing difficult activities during the time of day that you feel most alert.

Organize and write things down You will need constant little reminders, so create systems as early as possible to help you remember things: a schedule, a day planner, alarm clocks, arranging your living environment in an organized manner

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Tips for Concerned Family Members

Learn all you can about Alzheimer’s. If you are well-prepared and know what to expect, you will be able to cope better with the challenges that may arise, and will be of more assistance to the person with Alzheimer’s.

Prioritize. Due to the degenerative aspect of Alzheimer’s disease, it may be a good idea to give certain issues preference while your loved one is still able to make important decisions.

Show understanding. When talking to the individual with Alzheimer’s, it is important to be sensitive to their condition, and never insult and or criticize them for their memory loss or other symptoms.

Speak clearly. Allow those suffering from Alzheimer's enough time to keep up with conversations by using simple words and short sentences.

Encourage serenity. Ensure that their environment is quiet and peaceful by eliminating as much chaos as you can.

Look after your own needs, too. You are more likely to be able to care for your family member if you care for yourself as well.

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