After a person turns 70 years of age the possibility of contracting Alzheimer's disease, and the chances may be as high as 50 percent in people over 85 years old. However, it is not something everyone will contract and there are many cases of people living to more than 100 years old who do not get Alzheimer’s disease. Some doctors have predicted that if the current trend of people getting Alzheimer’s disease continues that more than 14 million in the U.S. may get it by 2050.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?
The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease come upon its victims very slowly and continue to progress. One of the first symptoms is memory loss, which may at first be chalked up to simple old age. However, it continues to get worse and progresses farther along than normal aging memory loss until the person is literally unable to function on their own.
Alzheimer’s victims show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as forgetting to turn off an appliance, not knowing how to take their medicine, not recognizing family or friends, personality changes, apathy, not wanting to be around other people, etc. As the disease worsens, the individual will become erratic, may not take care of bodily hygiene or know how to dress themselves, won’t be able to talk in a normal conversation, will not know the day or year or time of day, may have bathroom accidents and be unable to hold their urine or bowel movements, and will be uncooperative and possibly a danger to themselves or others. Eventually the person may even die.
Treatment of Alzheimer's disease
There are both medicine and non-medicine ways to handle the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The Food and Drug Administration approved two kinds of drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. These are cholinesterase inhibitors, as well as partial glutamate antagonists. While these drugs can’t cure the progression of the illness, they do help with some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors work by blocking acetylcholine breakdown. Acetylcholine is needed to help in memory and so keeping it from breaking down can help the victims with memory loss issues.
The partial glutamate antagonists drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is based on knowing that the “glutamate” helps the neurotransmitters in the brain and if there is too much it can cause the nerve cells to die. The drug Namenda treats this problem and it has been shown to slow the progression of the disease in some cases during the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Therapies not using drugs are used to try to keep the patient engaged in activities that will work to help them retain their memory and functional abilities longer. The bottom line is that in order to begin treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, you have to pay attention and look out for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.