Aging is a natural process that humans cannot escape. Some people find it to be a scary experience that increases their vulnerability. However, elderly people are still highly valued in society for their wisdom and knowledge.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is a serious threat to this group of people. Currently, the risk of developing this medical condition stands at 10.5% for anyone over the age of 65 years. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 26.6 million people in the world causing about 83,500 deaths in the US alone.
Regrettably, the prevalence of the disease is increasing by the day. For example, every 66 seconds, one person in the United States develops this medical condition. Therefore, educating the public on Alzheimer’s disease is critical. Here are some facts on it.
This medical condition affects the brain. Scientists haven’t found a cure for it although the disease was discovered more than a century ago in 1910. However, they know a lot about it.
For example, Alzheimer’s disease leads to the destruction of brain cells in three stages namely the transentorhinal, Iimbic, and isocortical stage. It has varying effects on the different parts of the brain, but these effects are most devastating when it comes to the language, memory, and thought processes of a person.
In essence, Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, which refers to a group of medical conditions affecting ways in which people think and interact with others. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 70% of all dementia cases. Since a cure for it does not exist, managing its symptoms is the best way to help someone suffering from the condition.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has approved four types of medications for Alzheimer’s i.e. donepezil, memantine, rivastigmine, and galantamine. The last one is a combination of memantine and donepezil.
Consulting a physician caring for the patient is imperative before administering any of these drugs to the patient. Remember, they cater to different stages of the disease with the exception of donepezil and rivastigmine that cater to all stages. Only a medical professional can make an appropriate choice for a drug in addition to stating a proper dosage.
Scientists are currently working on a drug that will be able to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or even treat it, but it may take some time before they come up with such a drug.
The best thing to do for a person who suffers from this condition is to hire a caregiver to look after the patient. Family members should also learn how to do it themselves just in case they cannot afford to hire someone or the person they’ve hired becomes temporarily unavailable.
Notifying the residents in your neighborhood about a family member with this illness is also important because you might need their help if that family member wanders off by himself.