Alzheimer’s Most Common Form of Dementia

Of all the different types of dementia that affect the elderly, it is Alzheimer’s disease which causes the most concern. It has become famous in recent years although it is not a new form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gradually causes deterioration in the memory and is currently affecting one in ten of people aged 65 and over. The problem in the past has been the accuracy of diagnosis which has gradually improved and is now up to 94 percent accurate. Discovered in 1906 by German physician Alois Alzheimer, the world’s focus on this disease is only about 30 years old. Even though it has been scientifically studied for many years, knowledge surrounding this disease is minimal.

Studies into the disorder have shown you have a greater chance of acquiring Alzheimer’s the older you become. Part of the problem in the early stages of Alzheimer’s is the patient’s reluctance to admit to anyone or themselves that they are experiencing problems.

General measures for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are the same as for all dementias. There is no definitive treatment at present, but some drugs improve the symptoms or stall their progression. The mental abilities of an Alzheimer’s disease sufferer can be improved anything up to six months with the use of prescribed medication like Donepezil, Tacrine, and Rivastigmine. These drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Another drug, Memantine, a derivative of the older anti-influenza drug Amantadine is proving successful at slowing down the mental decline of sufferers. It is now prescribed to Alzheimer’s patients who are already using Donepezil. The side effects of using Memantine are low, and it’s the first drug shown to have an effect on the symptoms of moderate to severe cases. More than 80 percent of the Memantine excreted are unchanged by the kidneys.

Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be a major public health challenge since the average age of the industrialized world’s population is increasing. This disease is now the fourth largest cause of death in America. The economic cost of treating and providing care for those with this type of aging disease is currently over 40 billion dollars a year. According to the National Institute on Aging, nearly half of its annual budget was spent on research into this awful disease last year alone. Currently there are hundreds of substances being tested for treatments around the world.

One way to help lower the risk of dementia and one that you can have responsibility for is to change how you live by eating healthily and taking regular exercise. In fact researchers believe the happier and healthier someone is with Alzheimer’s, the slower his or her decline. Luckily, early-onset of the disease is very rare although it is starting to claim younger victims.

James Houston