it is the most common form of dementia
it is also known as simply Alzheimer’s, and Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type (SDAT)
it’s a progressive neurologic disease of the brain i.e., the disease gets worse as it develops
amyloid plaques develop within the structure of the brain resulting brain cell death
causes irreversible loss of neurons, loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning
- have a deficiency in the levels of some vital brain chemicals called neurotransmitters which are involved with the transmission of messages in the brain
- it is classified into several stages.
- some doctors use a 7-stage framework, while others may use a 4, 5 or 6-stage one.
- a common framework includes 1. Pre-Dementia Stage. 2. Mild Alzheimer’s Stage. 3. Moderate Alzheimer’s Stage. 4. Severe Alzheimer’s Stage.
- In a 7-stage framework, most patients take from 8 to 10 years to progress through all the seven stages. However, some may live for 20 years after neuron changes first occur.
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
|Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease||Signs (examples)|
|Memory loss||Frequently forgetting new information|
|Problems with familiar tasks||Getting confused while cooking or playing a game|
|Problems with language||Forgetting simple words or using wrong words|
|Disorientation to time and place||Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood|
|Poor judgment||Dressing inappropriately for the weather|
|Problems with abstract thought||Trouble with simple math|
|Misplacing things||Putting an iron in the freezer|
|Changes in mood and behavior||Unusual bouts of anger or rapid mood swings|
|Changes in personality||Becoming overly confused, suspicious, afraid, or dependent|
|Loss of initiative||Lack of interest in usual activities|
- age – after the age of 65 the risk of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five year
- family history – Only about 7% of all cases are associated with genes that cause the early onset inherited familial form of the disease. Among those who do inherit the condition, it may start at an earlier age.
- Down’s syndrome – People with Down’s syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, which contains a protein that exists in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. As people with Down’s syndrome have a larger amount of this protein than others, their risk of developing the disease is greater.
- Whiplash and head injuries – Some studies have identified a link between whiplash and head injuries and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Atrial fibrillation – Studies have shown a strong relationship between atrial fibrillation and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart disease risk factors – People with the risk factors of heart disease – high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and poorly controlled diabetes – also have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Processed foods and fertilizers (nitrates) – A study carried out by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found a significant link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food, with increased deaths from diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes and Parkinson’s.
- Some chronic inflammatory conditions
- A history of episodes of clinical depression
- Strokes and/or ministrokes
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
- Glutamate path modifiers.
They both work differently in the brain
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors – work by helping to increase the amount of acetylcholine in the brain – a chemical that is important for memory and learning – by inhibiting the cholinesterase enzyme from breaking down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine resulting in an increase in both the neurotransmitter’s level and duration of action.
Three of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s disease are:
ARICEPT* (donepezil HCl), approved to treat all stages of Alzheimer’s disease
EXELON** (rivastigmine tartrate), approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease
EXELON PATCH (rivastigmine transdermal system), approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease
RAZADYNE*** (galantamine HBr), approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease
Glutamate pathway modifiers – work differently than the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Glutamate is another chemical in the brain that is important for learning and memory.
NAMENDA is currently the only drug of its type approved to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately there is no treatment to cure the disease. However, though there is no sufficient avidence about its efficacy the combination therapy concept believed to have improved the quality of life of the patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The most obvious combination is the combination of Nameda (only approved drug that addresses glutamate pathway) and Donepezil (only approved drug that address all stages of the disease) in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.
*This is for information purpose only, not a medical advice. Consult your physician for any medical advice and usage.