Haven’t we had this conversation before? You think as you look lovingly at your mother, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, friend or neighbor – humoring them, not wanting to make them feel bad that once again they are repeating themselves.
Alzheimer’s is a disease as of 2014 effects approximately 1.8 million people per year here in the United States. Some times referred to as Senile Dementia, Alzheimer’s is a disease of the mind that gets progressively worse over time. It may start out as an occasional occurrence but can quickly become more and more frequent. This is a highly frustrating and saddening condition not only for the sufferer but for those loved ones around them as they get to watch as the person they once knew and loved slowly disappear becoming a shell of their former selves.
The number of patients experiencing these symptoms is expected to increase in the coming years. So far medically speaking, there is no known cure or really even a treatment.
How can you tell if someone is just forgetful or actually has Alzheimer’s?
The list is long, but well worth educating yourself on. Dementia symptoms include difficulty with many areas of mental function, including: language, memory, perception (real or imagined), emotional behavior, calculation, abstract thinking, or judgment. The very first sign though, yes is usually forgetfulness.
Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging, and the development of Alzheimer’s. People with MCI have minor problems with memory that do not interfere with everyday activities. They are often aware of the forgetfulness. Not everyone with MCI develops AD so don’t automatically be alarmed. Symptoms of MCI include:
Forgetting recent events or conversations, difficulty performing more than one task at a time, hard time solving problems, trouble finding the name of familiar objects, misplacing items, getting lost on familiar routes and personality changes.
As Alzheimer’s becomes more advanced, symptoms are more obvious and interfere with your ability to take care of yourself.
These can include: forgetting details about current events, events in your own life history, losing awareness of who you are, change in sleep patterns, often waking up at night, difficulty reading or writing, loss of ability to recognize danger, using the wrong word, mispronouncing words, speaking in confusing sentences, hallucinations, starting arguments, striking out, and violent behavior due to fear and frustration, delusions, depression, agitation, difficulty doing basic tasks, such as preparing meals, choosing proper clothing, and driving.
People with severe Alzheimers can no longer: understand language, recognize family members, perform basic activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing, even incontinence and swallowing may become problems. At this point the patient will need round the clock care.
How do you deal with Alzheimer’s patients? – Its not an easy task. They are often mad, frustrated and confused. Mirroring this behavior does not help their stress level or yours. Try your best to remain calm. If you have to repeat yourself, do it. If they make reference to someone who is no longer with us, rather than shocking them with news of their death, maybe say something to the effect of “I wish Dad was here with us right now too” and move on to another subject. Personally? If it happens to be in the cards for me, what I would wish for was for someone to hand me a banana daqueri, a pair of snazzy sunglasses and tell me I am on a beach vacation in Tahiti. Just play along and make them as happy as you can. It will go easier on all involved.
Why do we develop Alzheimer’s? Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s. We cook in aluminum pans, wrap food in aluminum foil, and use antiperspirant that contains aluminum. Additional to these chem. trails being sprayed from airplanes contain aluminum that we all get the pleasure of breathing in. What can we do about this? Heavy metal detox – chelation therapy (it sounds worse than it is) will help your body rid itself of these unwelcome metals. You can detoxify your body from heavy metals with cilantro and algae which can be found in dropper form at most health food stores. And although the link has not been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt I personally choose not to cook in aluminum or wear deodorant containing it.
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not known. Risk factors seem to include: family history and genetics, age (though this is not a normal part of ageing – symptoms begin to appear as young as 60), long standing high blood pressure and a history of head trauma.
What can you do if you have Alzheimer’s? There are two schools of thought. One being the medical drug based treatment in which drugs such as Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and Galantamine (Razadyne, formerly called Reminyl) affect the level of a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. Side effects include indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and fatigue. Memantine (Namenda) is another type of drug approved for treating AD. Possible side effects include agitation or anxiety.
Or you can do a more natural treatment option and take folate (vitamin B9), vitamin B12, and vitamin E. Some also have found that the herb ginkgo biloba prevents or slows the development of dementia. However, high-quality studies have failed to show that this herb lowers the chance of actually developing dementia. DO NOT use ginkgo if you take blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or a class of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Starting to take B12 as early as 30 has been shown to help ward off Alzheimer’s in those who are genetically at risk for this disease.
If you are considering any drugs or supplements, you should talk to your doctor first. Remember that herbs and supplements available over the counter are NOT regulated by the FDA and that we here at HCBL can only offer suggestions.
Originally Published: HCBL.com
Author: Sarah Barendse