ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE & TREATMENT
Definition: What is "Alzheimer's disease"?
Alzheimer's disease definition: Alzheimer's disease, which is named after Alois Alzheimer, is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs in people aged 65 & over. This disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting over 20 million people worldwide. Once Alzheimer's has been diagnosed, the life expectancy of patients is around 7 years. Only 3% of patients live for more than 10 years.
Symptoms & Signs
Alzheimer's disease is divided into 4 stages with different symptoms for each stage. In the predementia stage, patients experience only mild cognitive difficulties. Other symptoms include short-term memory loss, semantic memory impairments & subtle executive problems. Depression & apathy may also occur. In the early stage, patients experience impairments in memory & learning. However, older memories are affected only slightly compared to learning new things & making new memories. In terms of language problems, shrinking vocabulary & decreased work frequency may occur. In the moderate dementia stage, patients slowly reduce the possibility of independence. Language difficulties become noticeable & the ability to read & write are forgotten. Complex motor sequences are also affected, making patients lose their ability to perform daily activities. Long-term memory becomes impaired, while behavioral changes occur. Irritability, outbursts, crying, aggression & physical violence also occurs. 30% of Alzheimer's patients develop delusional symptoms. In the advanced stage of Alzheimer's, patients cannot perform the simplest tasks alone. Apathy, exhaustion & loss of verbal language also occur. Patients will also experience muscle deterioration & inability to feed oneself.
Treatment: How to Treat "Alzheimer's disease"?
There is no available cure for Alzheimer's disease. The medications available only offer benefits for patient's symptoms, but do not slow down the progression of the disease. However, behavioral & cognitive interventions as well as rehabilitation strategies may be used during the early to moderate stages of Alzheimer's disease. Therapies may include reminiscent therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, behavioral reinforcements, reality orientation therapy & cognitive rehabilitation training.