What is Alzheimer’s disease? It is a degeneration disease that affects brain cells where they progressively die out. This dying out is brought about by scrambled bundles of fibers and abnormal clumps composed of misplaced proteins. Eventually, the brain cells that are responsible for the optimum performance of the body's vital organs are also affected, leading to the patient’s death.
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear but age is one of the major predisposing factors. Its occurrence greatly increases after the age of 70 years.
The major symptoms of the disease are poor concentration, progressive memory loss and low judgment capability. As the disease progresses, the patient suffers confusion, hallucinations and delusions. Recognition of familiar objects or persons is also impaired. Some patients also suffer from distorted sleep patterns. Understanding these symptoms is important in establishing the relevant Alzheimer therapy to use in treating patients.
Alzheimer’s disease has no cure. However, if the disease is detected in the early stages there are several therapies that can slow down the dying out process. The treatments are geared towards alleviating the symptoms of the disease.
1.Drug Therapy. This is the major Alzheimer therapy in use. Several drugs have been identified by researchers to aid in making patients lives easier. These include Tacrine (Cognex), Donepezil (Aricept) and, Memantine (Namenda). Studies have shown that antioxidants such as vitamin E are able to slow down the degeneration process, especially in terms of cognitive decline.
2.Pet Therapy. Many health care facilities are slowly accepting pets are therapy agents for patients of Alzheimer’s disease. These are pets that are thoroughly trained to give comfort and calm patients. They also help keep the patients physically active which also keeps the brain cells active.
3.Habilitation Therapy. This type of Alzheimer therapy places its focus on the enhancing the abilities that the patient still has as opposed to trying to revive those that have been lost. Though patients lose physical and reasoning capacities, feelings are not affected by the disease. Allowing patients to use their present abilities makes them feel useful and slows down the degeneration of these functions. Thus continuous activity is crucial in the treatment of patients.
4.Omega 3 Therapy. Studies conducted by researchers and health professionals show that Omega 3 is a very effective Alzheimer therapy. It has been found not only to greatly reduce the degeneration process but also to significantly reduce the chances of the disease occurring. Omega 3 works by reducing the inflammation caused by the accumulation of proteins in the brain. This inflammation is the cause clumps that result in the progressive dying of brain cells.
5.Music Therapy. Music has been found to have a soothing and calming effect on Alzheimer patients. Songs that we learnt in kindergarten are still clear in our minds even 50 years on. It has been observed that Alzheimer patients may lose their memory of the recent past but respond with joy to songs they loved, especially in their younger days.
So, you see all hope is not lost for patients. Through the various Alzheimer therapy methods, caregivers can add not only days to their patient’s lives but also life into the days of their patients.