Treatments for Alzheimer's

What is alzheimers?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects certain parts of the brain, more specifically the areas that control cognitive or mental functions like our ability to think, our memory and language. The disease is progressive, and has a higher risk factor in older people. In fact, the disease is sometimes ignored as conditions brought by old age since early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include forgetfulness and loss of concentration. Soon, however, the disease will affect daily functions. 

Treatment for alzheimers

There’s no existing cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The only thing that can be done is to slow down the disease, and keep it from destroying as many of the normal brain functions as possible. After diagnosing the disease, there are a couple of treatments that can be administered to improve and maintain the health of the patient. Since the disease itself does not have a cure, medicines and therapies are aimed at alleviating the symptoms associated with the disease.

Let’s begin with the different medications. The aim of drugs for Alzheimer’s is to help individuals cope with memory loss, behavioral problems, and/or sleeping disorders associated with the disease. One of the treatment is the use of cholinesterase inhibitors which blocks the production of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is responsible for destroying acetylcholine in the brain, a chemical necessary for attention and memory. Some of cholinesterase drugs are Reminyl (galantamine), Exelon (rivastigmine), Aricept (donepezil), and Cognex (tacrine).

Memantine is another medication that doctors might prescribe for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Memantine will help regulate the production of glutamate, a brain chemical that causes problems when the brain produces too much of it. Known as a N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, memantine can help the patient perform ordinary, daily activities.

Antipsychotics or neuroleptics, on the other hand, are drugs that can control agitation, anger, hallucinations and delusions, and insomnia, all characteristics of a patient with Alzheimer’s. At times health care providers would recommend antidepressants and anxiolytics to treat depression and anxiety common in patients with Alzheimer’s.

These medications often come with a number of side effects which is why doctors commonly start treating patients with low doses of the drugs. They increase the prescribed dosage after evaluating the patient and how his/her body is reacting to the drug.

Aside from drugs, some studies indicate that Alzheimer’s disease is slowed down by maintaining a physically, mentally and socially active lifestyle. It seems the disease slows down when the brain is highly active. Doing puzzles, mind games, reading, and arts and crafts are just a few activities that benefit people with the disease.

There are some clinical treatments that are being used on exploratory basis for treating the disease. These include anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, vitamin E, and hormone replacement therapy. Although, some of the treatments are still highly debated and remains inconclusive.