Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. It is a neurodegenerative condition that has some typical characteristics like memory loss, mood disorders, and behavioural issues. More than 1.3 million elderly people in India suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease is seen in people more than 55 years of age.
Alzheimer’s, unfortunately, is not curable. However, its progress can be slowed or even stopped by using medications and some non-drug options that may treat the symptoms. Understanding Alzheimer’s disease and its treatment can be a positive step towards helping older adults.
The biggest misconceptions regarding Alzheimer’s disease are that a) it is a part of aging and b) it is completely untreatable. Alzheimer’s is not a part of aging and it is treatable up to a certain point.
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Here are some ways in which the progress of Alzheimer’s disease can be stopped or, at least, slowed down:
There are various medicines that are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors and certain other medicines like antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults and also restrict any signs of aggression and depression commonly seen in AD patients.
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Medicines are a part of the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. They are usually combined with other therapies for better results. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST), and Cognitive Rehabilitation are used to slow the progress of AD in older adults. In many cases, the patient shows significant improvement by regaining certain memories and being able to think better. There are special activities and therapies for caregivers also. These are very necessary because the caregivers are very likely to face depression and mental and physical fatigue while caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
Many doctors are now exploring the arena of alternative medicine for curing Alzheimer’s disease. Ayurveda has proved itself to be capable in this field. The herb, Ashwagandha, has been studied extensively for reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s in older adults. Along with these, practices like yoga and pranayama are also very effective in treating AD.
Alzheimer’s disease causes a decline in memory and brain function in older adults. The person may also suffer from depression, anxiety, paranoia and mood disorders. Homeopathic drugs help alleviate these symptoms, thus helping an older adult with AD live a better life. These homeopathic drugs are used to deal with memory loss of different types, depression, emotional swings and difficulty in reading and writing.
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Acupuncture is usually used to treat physical issues like pain in older adults. However, studies have shown that acupuncture is effective in treating Alzheimer’s as well. The patients who have undergone acupuncture treatment has shown significant improvement in memory function, less aggressiveness and better speech and walking abilities.
Various herbs have been used in China for treating different diseases. Several clinical trials for various mixtures for acetylcholinesterase inhibitors have been conducted and the results have been very satisfactory. Herbs like Ginseng and Salvia officinalis have been used as herbal medicines for quite a long while and are known to improve brain function and memory.
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Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating for older adults as well as their caregivers. However, with advancements in medical science and explorations in alternative medicine, treating AD has become easier, thus giving older adults a better quality of life.
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