There is a good chance you have already heard about this disease from your family and friends or even on the TV. Based on the prevalence statistics for this disease, it is also quite likely that you have a close family member that is afflicted with this condition. You may already have known that this is a disease linked to the aging brain but it is something a bit more complicated than just a disease you naturally get as you get older. Here, we will cover some of the mechanisms that occur in order for you to develop Alzheimer’s Disease and what you can do, if anything, to help reduce your chances of these changes.
What are the effects on the brain with someone with Alzheimer's Disease?
This disease is defined as being a gradual process that occurs as changes in the brain begin to accumulate but what exactly are these changes?
What is occurring is that plaque is accumulating in the brain. Think of these plaques like damaged proteins that are no longer able to function properly. They may be twisted, folded or clipped in such a way that they are no longer able to function to the level that they are supposed to. Some of the reasons these proteins can change their shape would be from chronic diseases like hypertension or diabetes — almost all patients with AD, around 98 percent, in fact, will have at least underlying hypertension and arteriosclerosis before they are finally diagnosed with AD.
These damaged proteins will begin to accumulate and accumulate as you grow older and changes to the brain will begin to occur. Our body does its best in order to try to remove these proteins but once the condition becomes too problematic, proteins will accumulate at a higher rate than they can be cleaned out so that is the point when you start to notice changes occur.
These changes can signal problems with memory, visual decline and even personality changes. It will become harder and harder for a patient with AD to be able to carry on their daily activities without needing assistance so a good strategy is to try to avoid the disease as long as possible.
Can you stop Alzheimer's Disease?
The short and simple answer to this conundrum is no. Currently, we do not have a cure for the disease so once you are diagnosed with the disease, it is something that you will have to live with for the rest of your life.
However, that does not mean that you should give up hope though because there are several options that can help prolong the course of the disease. This can make quite the dramatic difference based on the length of time you can live a highly functioning life with AD.
Eat anti-AD foods
There are certain foods in your diet that you can start to eat in order to help. Some of the foods that could be the most beneficial would be nuts like walnuts, salmon, spinach, berries, and coffee, because oils in these foods are able to help clear out these misfolded proteins. It may not prevent you from ever getting AD but if you have the mild form of the disease appearing when you are in your mid-70s instead of late 60s, you will have a much higher quality of life.
Manage chronic conditions
Managing chronic conditions like hypertension and atherosclerosis are also one of the best strategies in order to depress the rate of altered proteins.
Limit potential risk factors
The next step that you should do is to try to limit the risk factors as much as possible. Of course, it is impossible for us to change our genetics (no matter how much we may want to at times) so if you have a family history of the disease, it is important to visit with a doctor more frequently to assess your risk. As you have read above, memory loss can be a hard thing to diagnose but the sooner you make a trip to the neurologist, the sooner he will be able to start to develop a relationship with you so he can better assess any subtle decline in your cognitive abilities.
Visit your doctor
If you start to notice the effects of Alzheimer's Disease, there are also a few medications that can be useful in your management of the symptoms. Drugs exist on the market that can help improve your memory, reduce your insomnia and help manage the behavioral changes that could be associated with this disease.
Even if AD is a serious condition, you are still able to live many quality life years even after diagnosis. The preventative measures and therapies available for the disease once symptoms start manifesting can delay the emergence of this condition so you will still be as independent as possible.