In America the Alzheimer’s Disease has become the most common condition. The data shows that total 5.5. Millions people in America are affected with the condition. Among the people with this disease, 3.3 millions are women; 5.3 millions are older than 65 and 2 lakhs are younger. Year 2000 data revealed that Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading death cause of the Americans, and it is increased by 89%. It is rapidly growing into a ratio as one in four people. Life expectancy after diagnosed condition is 4 to 8 years. Through these years patients might need care givers. Unpaid assistance from family and friends provided for patients throughout the nation is $18.2 billion hours in U.S. And it is estimated as this disease could cost the U.S. as much as $1.1 trillion by 2050.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition. Dementia is a hallmark for Alzheimer’s Disease. Generally, loss of memory, cognitive inabilities might occur in early stages. Usually it occurs after age of 65 but, it is not a part of aging. We cannot say Alzheimer’s is an old age disease. If it occurs at early age i.e. before 65 then it is known as Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. For better understanding of the condition, it is divided in seven stages. The stages are stage 1- normal outward behavior, stage-2 very mild changes, stage-3 mild decline, stage-4 moderate decline, stage-5 moderately severe decline, stage-6 severe decline, and stage-7 very severe decline.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
The exact cause of this disease is not known. But scientist believes, it is mostly caused by genetical problem, person’s lifestyle and environmental factors. The brain is strongly affected in this disease, and it has fewer cells and connections. Brain shrinks as brain cells damages or destroyed completely. Scientists have a doubt on beta-amyloid to cause brain cells damage. After study scientist concluded that there are two main abnormalities observed in the patient of Alzheimer’s. Stated as follows:
Plaques: It is accumulated between nerve cells in the brain. Amyloid is a protein fragment, whereas beta amyloid is also a protein fragment cut from an APP i.e. Amyloid Precursor Protein. In the normal condition these fragments get eliminated but, in the Alzheimer’s Disease, these same fragments accumulate and form a hard and insoluble plaque.
Tangles: It is called as Neurofibrillary Tangles. Twisted fibers inside the brain cells known as Tangles. These tangles are insoluble and contain protein called ‘tau’. The tau protein is a part of microtubule, which helps to transport nutrients and other substances from one part to another part of the nerve cells. This is the normal function of the protein. In Alzheimer’s Disease the structure microtubule get collapse and protein tau behave abnormal.
Note: Avoid using aluminum metal as much as possible. It can cause plaques and affect tau protein, which are hallmarks for Alzheimer’s.
Risk Factors: There are some risk factors for, which cause more risk for the disease. The factors are age, family history, genetics, down syndrome, sex, mild cognitive impairment, past head trauma, lack of sleep, sleeping pattern, lifestyle, unhealthy heart, learning, and involvement for life long.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
Medical scientists are working to develop a test that diagnoses Alzheimer’s before it the symptoms are seen. Specially designed test for the disease is not available yet but, it can be diagnosed on the basis of several tests that show signs or symptoms of the condition. To identify it, the doctor will ask you to perform below mentioned tests. First Dementia will be determined.
- Neurological and Physical Examination: The doctor will check your physical fitness and neurological health such with the help of checking reflexes, muscle tone & strength, walking, getting up from the chair, vision, hearing, co-ordination, and balance
- Questionnaire test: To check your mental state, the doctor will prepare list of questions regarding your routine and depending on your answer, the result will be concluded
- Neuropsychological tests: This test will check mind and function of your brain towards your financial and medical activities, decision making, or other important aspects of your life
- Brain imaging: To check the condition of brain some important tests are performed, such as MRI i.e. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, CT i.e. Computerized Tomography, and PET i.e. Positron Emission Tomography
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
While noticing irregular things about memory would be the key sign of Alzheimer’s. The symptoms of this condition are shown very slowly. You might forget recent conversation or events. You might find difficulty in organizing thoughts. And the condition shall get worsen with time. The time is very crucial for your family members to support you. By this time it shows symptoms as mentioned below:
- Loss of memory
- Trouble while speaking and writing
- Difficulty in thinking and reasoning
- Confusion in making judgments and decisions
- Struggle while planning and performing familiar tasks
- Unusual personality and behavior like frequent mood swings, depression or anxiety, social withdrawal, distrust in others, irritability and aggressiveness, unusual sleeping habits, loss of inhibitions, and delusions
- Loss of preserved skills
- Drug abuse
- Parkinson’s disease
Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers and scientists are working on the aspects of the Alzheimer’s Disease to uncover the best possible treatment for the condition. This hope is the better trigger for the treatment, since the disease cannot be cured. One of the best medicines to treat Alzheimer’s Disease is mentioned below.
Donepezil is an active component used in the medication Aricept. It is an enzyme blocker that treats confusion related to Alzheimer’s disease. This medicine has been manufactured by leading pharmaceutical company, Eisai Inc. It restores the balance of natural substances in the brain that improves memory.
One of the popular brand medicine Razadyne is approved for the treatment of this condition. The main active component of this medicine is Galantamine Hydrobromide, which is manufactured by the trusted company, Ortho-McNeil pharmaceuticals. It is also available in an extended-release tablet form, i.e. Razadyne ER. It works by inhibiting the acetylcholinesterase to increase the concentration and enhance the action of acetylcholine.
Memantine Hydrochloride is an active component used in the medication like Namenda to treat this condition. It has been manufactured by Allergan pharmaceuticals. It acts by restricting the receptors in the brain that glutamate would normally bind to and reduces the harmful effect of glutamate in the brain.
Orap is a medication contains active ingredient Pimozide is used to treat this condition. It is an antipsychotic drug that reduces the activity of a natural substance like dopamine in the brain. This medication is offered by leading pharmaceutical company, Teva pharmaceuticals.
Novartis pharmaceuticals offers the effective medication Exelon. It contains Rivastigmine Tartrate as the main active component. It is a cholinesterase inhibitor that inhibits both butyryl cholinesterase and acetylcholinesterase.
Tetrabenazine an active component, which is dopamine deplete medicine that works by inhibiting the vesicular monoamine transporter 2. It is composed as a brand medicine Xenazine. This medicine is offered by the trusted pharmaceutical company, Genzyme Corporation.