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What is the Treatment for Alzheimers Disease?

Delve into Alzheimer's: its causes, symptoms, and evolving treatment approaches. Discover medications, behavioral interventions, and the importance of support in caring for affected individuals.

  • 30 Jan 2024
  • 3 min read
  • 25 views

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that worsens over time with a progressive memory decline in thinking, learning, and organising skills. Such a condition occurs from changes in the brain because of deposits of certain proteins in the form of plaques and tangles, which shrink the brain, eventually killing the brain cells. Those aged 65 and above are mostly affected by this disease; however, 10% of cases have also been reported among younger generations. No cure has been found for Alzheimer’s disease to date, although taking certain medicines can help alleviate the symptoms.

Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

  • Researchers are continually coming up with innovative approaches to treat Alzheimer’s, which include certain medications that can temporarily arrest the worsening of the condition.
  • Medications and other interventions can also help with behavioural symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease treatment in its early stages to help maintain the daily functioning of brain cells.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms:
  1. Cholinesterase inhibitors: This is the first line of defence given to improve Alzheimer’s symptoms related to behaviour, such as agitation or depression. Cholinesterase inhibitors block the action of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that destroys acetylcholine (the chemical that boosts cell-to-cell communication).
  2. NMDA antagonists (Memantine): FDA-approved medicine used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease by blocking the effects of an excessive amount of a chemical in the brain called glutamate. This medicine is given to the patient who cannot tolerate AChE inhibitors in their body. It has been studied that a patient who takes memantine performs better in everyday activities such as eating, walking, toileting, bathing, and dressing.

Medicines to Treat Challenging Behaviour:

Managing behavioural changes is also an essential aspect of treatment for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Such changes can be managed if you can:

  • Maintain a familiar environment for them by keeping the living space and layout the same 
  • Monitor their comfort level by keeping things that are their favourites.
  • Try to maintain a stress-free environment around them.
  • Use behavioural change medicines, including:
  1. Antidepressant medicines: These drugs can used to treat anxiety, restlessness, aggression, and depression that occur in patients with brain disorders.
  2. Anti-anxiety drugs: These drugs can be used to treat agitation.
  3. Anticonvulsant drugs: These medications can be used in a patient who has problems related to aggression.
  4. Antipsychotics: These drugs can be used to treat paranoia, hallucinations, and agitation to manage brain cell activity in Alzheimer’s patients.

As these medications can have potential side effects, they are only prescribed if a patient has some severe symptoms of behavioural problems.

Also read:

Conclusion

We are aware that people with severe Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty in communication and are entirely dependent on others for care as their bodies shut down with age. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can have a significant impact on their physical, emotional, and mental health. It is also advisable to see a healthcare provider if a person is experiencing issues with memory and thinking abilities so that such issues can be properly addressed and family members guided on how to deal with such conditions for the patient’s well-being. Significantly, obtaining health insurance for Alzheimer's patients can provide them with proper medical care and financial support.

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