Alzheimer’s disease: test, therapy and prevention


Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

The criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer’s dementia include the development of various cognitive problems, including:
– Memory impairment. The patient’s ability to learn new information and remember already acquired information is reduced.
– speech disorders. Possible is the occurrence of agnosia, which is the inability to recognize or identify objects despite preserved sensory functions.
– Disruption of planning and organization. Apraxia or the inability to perform motor activities despite preserved motor functions.

The doctor performs cognitive tests to evaluate memory performance; the most common is the Mini Mental Status Test (MMST), which consists of 30 simple questions, such as:

  • Which city are we in?
  • What day is today? What time of year are we in right now?
  • Repetition of a sentence uttered by the examiner.
  • What kind of item is this? (while pointing at a pen or watch).

The diagnosis can be complicated because the patient can suffer from two mental illnesses at the same time.

Diagnostic imaging of Alzheimer’s disease
Of the instrument-based examinations, the most helpful is magnetic resonance imaging of the brain.
The brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease shows an expansion of the cerebral ventricles and an increase in the subarachnoid space. This phenomenon occurs due to cerebral atrophy.

The doctor may also prescribe single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) or positron emission tomography (PET), but usually these examination methods are not used.

Anyone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that allows data to be stored.

Laboratory tests
The following tests can be carried out to rule out other diseases:

  • complete blood count,
  • functional test of the thyroid gland,
  • Vitamin B levels.

In addition, the doctor may prescribe:

  • Urinalysis
  • toxicological study.

Therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

The drugs used can help control memory symptoms and other cognitive changes over time.
Two types of medications are currently used to treat cognitive symptoms:

1. Cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs work by increasing levels of acetylcholine, a chemical that allows communication between neurons and is reduced due to Alzheimer’s disease.
Most people can use it to improve their symptoms.
Less than half of patients treated with this drug have experienced no improvement.
Among the cholinesterase inhibitors that are prescribed, one finds:

  • donepezil (Aricept),
  • galantamine (Reminyl),
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon).

The main side effects of these drugs are:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia.

2. Memantine (Axura). This medication slows the progression of symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease.
Memantine is used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor.
Creating a safe and supportive environment is very important to the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s disease.

Advice to improve a person’s well-being while not disrupting the patient’s abilities:

  • Remove unnecessary furniture and carpets.
  • Install robust railings on stairs and in the bathroom.
  • Use comfortable shoes and slippers that provide sufficient stability.
  • Reduce the number of mirrors. People with Alzheimer’s disease see images in the mirrors and can get confused and frightened.
  • The sick person should not be relieved of the handling of daily activities, even if this would be easier and faster.
  • A move should be avoided because the patient is not able to adapt to the new environment and he may lose orientation.
    Also furniture or pictures should not be crazy or hung, that would already cause confusion where which room is located.

Physical activity is important for the well-being of everyone, including Alzheimer’s patients.
Sports activities, such as walking for 30 minutes a day, can lift the good mood and maintain the health of the joints, muscles and heart.
Physical exercise improves sleep and prevents constipation.
You always have to make sure that the person with Alzheimer’s has the identity card with him when he goes out of the house alone.
If you can’t walk, you may be able to use the exercise bike to get enough exercise.

Rehabilitation and support
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease require motor and cognitive rehabilitation to halt the loss of residual abilities.
Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s need support to avoid dangerous behaviors for themselves and others.

Natural treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease

An important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is played by the consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially for those who are at increased risk for this condition.

Research shows that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s can be reduced in the following ways:

  • intake of 15 mg of vitamin B12 daily in the form of a supplement (study by A. de Jager, M.C Morris, Fraser G.),
  • diet rich in antioxidants in the form of fruits and vegetables (vitamin C and vitamin E),
  • increased intake of omega 3 – leads to a decrease in amyloid levels in the blood (study by Columbia University of New York, published in Neurology),
  • decreased intake of saturated and trans fatty acids (research series by N. Barnad, M.C. Morris, J. Cooper, Fraser G.),
  • moderate consumption of alcohol (especially wine).

Statins (group of drugs) do not reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but there is evidence that lowering cholesterol can slow the progression of the disease.

Diet and nutrition for Alzheimer’s disease

According to the blood type diet, Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss are provoked by the consumption of milk and dairy products.

According to the natural medicine of Shelton, Lezaeta and Ehret, Alzheimer’s can be treated by improving cerebral circulation.

This can be achieved by a vegan diet that has a raw food content of at least 80%:

  • vegetables, especially green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables,
  • Fruit
  • Seeds, nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, etc.

As for the way of life:

  • very important is physical exercise in the fresh air,
  • intellectual activities aimed at delaying the aging process of neurons,
  • daily stay in the sun.

According to natural medicine and hygienism, it is fundamental to abstain from food and medicines, because they contain toxins and can worsen the situation.

Prognosis for Alzheimer’s disease and life expectancy

The progression and worsening of the disease varies from person to person.
If Alzheimer’s develops quickly, then an exacerbation will also occur very quickly.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in Europe.
People with Alzheimer’s disease survive on average eight years after symptoms become noticeable, but this period can range from 4 to 20 years, depending on age and other conditions.

The final phase of the disease can last from a few months to several years.
During this time, the patient is completely disabled.
Death usually occurs:

  • by insufficiency of internal organs,
  • due to infection.

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