How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated
Medical management can improve quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimers disease and for their caregivers. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimers disease. Treatment addresses several areas:
- Helping people maintain brain health.
- Managing behavioral symptoms.
- Slowing or delaying symptoms of the disease.
Factors That Can Increase Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
In its mildest form, the neurodegenerative condition is characterised by symptoms including memory lapses, getting lost, repeating questions, and misplacing things – behaviours that generally get more severe over time.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the causes of Alzheimer’s, but there are some factors associated with an increased risk of getting the disease. For the most part, though, an increased risk doesn’t mean a person will necessarily get the disease – just that the chances are higher.
Here’s what the science has to say about the factors that influence your risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
There are some risk factors that you can’t control. Such is the case with age.
Every five years after the age of 65, a person’s risk of developing the Alzheimer’s doubles, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Genetic mutations are becoming increasingly important as a way to understand how Alzheimer’s develops, both in late-onset and early-onset.
In the case of early-onset Alzheimer’s, in which symptoms start showing in a person’s 30s, 40s, or 50s, the disease is caused by genetic mutations in one of three genes that are inherited from a parent, according to the NIA.
There is not a known mutation that causes the late-onset disease, but there are some gene mutations that increase – and others that decrease – your risk.
Possible Risk Factors For Alzheimers Disease
Additional factors might contribute to the development of Alzheimers disease, but scientists are not sure about their direct link to the disease. More research will be needed to better understand the relationship between these factors and Alzheimers disease. In addition to the factors below, several others, such as smoking, stress, and depression, may put people at greater risk for developing Alzheimers disease.
EnvironmentalPollution in the air has been shown in studies to be at least moderately tied to an increased likelihood of getting Alzheimers disease. Exposure to these chemicals and/or natural substances can cause many health problems, particularly in the lungs but also in other organs including the brain.
Evidence has shown that someone with the Alzheimers gene who lives in a city with more pollution experiences dementia symptoms an average of a decade earlier than a person with the same gene in a less-polluted environment. Researchers have been quick to point out, however, that more studies are needed to draw the link between environment and AD.
Cerebrovascular Disease / Cardiovascular DiseaseCardiovascular disease affects blood vessels and the heart. Hypertension, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and diabetes are cardiovascular diseases that studies say put a person at higher risk of getting Alzheimers disease, though the connection is not understood well enough to use these illnesses as a predictor for developing dementia.
Recommended Reading: Quality Of Life Alzheimer’s Disease
Aluminum In The Environment
Aluminum has a non-metallic form that makes up eight per cent of the earth’s surface. In small amounts, aluminum is referred to as “trace elements”, and occur naturally in the foods we eat, in our drinking water and are even added to the water treatment process in some municipalities.
Trace elements of aluminum may also be found in:
- Many processed foods
- Cosmetics and personal hygiene products, such as deodorants and nasal sprays
- Some drugs in order to make them more effective or less irritating
- The air we breathe from dry soil, cigarette smoke, pesticide sprays and aluminum-based paint.
About This Research Topic
Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia that affects cognitive and memory capabilities and daily functioning. Identified over a century ago, AD still remains a burden in society today. In 2017, it was estimated that around 45 million people worldwide suffered from AD or a related …
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.
Also Check: Margaret Thatcher Dementia
Dementia Risk Factors And Prevention
Some things can increase your risk of getting dementia, including your age, genes and lifestyle. There are also ways you can reduce your risk.
Learn more about alternative therapies
Some alternative therapies, like cannabis oil , might benefit people with dementia. They work by treating the conditions related to dementia, such as sleep problems or agitation. However there are alleged alternative therapies, like coconut oil, that don’t help or are harmful.
What Is The Burden Of Alzheimers Disease In The United States
- Alzheimers disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.2
- The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
- The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years or older.3
In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimers disease.1 This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1
In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimers disease were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.4
Death rates for Alzheimers disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline.5 Dementia, including Alzheimers disease, has been shown to be under-reported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimers may be considerably higher.6
You May Like: What Causes Low Blood Pressure In Dementia Patients
The Key To Alzheimers Prevention: Fixing The Roof
Knowing the range of risk factors and how they can link to Alzheimers is critical, as is catching and preventing Alzheimers early.
In our experience, the sooner the diagnosis, the better the outcome.
In fact, these risk factors are generally the ones used in the Bredesen Protocol and other prevention approaches to AD, stopping Alzheimers progression in its tracks or even before it starts.
Want to learn more about strategies for longevity and brain health? Sign up for our email list below to be the first to hear about our guide to Alzheimers prevention on a budget!
Chronic Diseases Associated With Vascular Injury
Chronic diseases associated with vascular injury can link into subtype 4, or vascular Alzheimers. These may include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Read Also: Smelling Farts Prevents Cancer
Interested In Dementia Research
Volunteer with our Research Network and use your personal experience of dementia to drive research forward. We are specifically interested in recruiting volunteers with a diagnosis of dementia. We also really want to hear from people with experience of dementia from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, as well as people affected by dementia from LGBTQ+ communities.
What Causes Alzheimers
We still dont fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease, but scientists are zeroing in on the answers. This is one of the most exciting and most important areas of research, because understanding the causes lead to more targeted treatments and ways to prevent the disease.
Scientists generally agree that a single clear cause of Alzheimers is unlikely. The disease is more likely the result of a combination of inter-related factors, including genetics, environmental influences, and even lifestyle. Each of these risk factors is currently the subject of a great deal of research including a growing body of research to identify various lifestyle factors, such as dietary habits, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which may influence ones risk of Alzheimers disease.
What is clear is that Alzheimers develops as a result of a complex cascade of biological processes in the brain that take place over many.
Stunning progress has been made recently in unraveling this cascade, and scientists now have a much clearer picture of what happens to the brain when Alzheimers strikes.
Also Check: Bob Knight Alzheimer’s
How The Study Worked
The researchers analyzed the primary healthcare records of 20,214 people with Alzheimers disease in the United Kingdom and 19,458 people with Alzheimers in France.
They compared each persons medical records with a control matched for sex and age who had not received a diagnosis of a progressive brain disease during the 15-year study period.
Out of the 123 health conditions they investigated, 10 had a statistically significant association with a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease 210 years later in France and the U.K.
Some of the conditions, such as depression, hearing loss, and sleep disorders, are already known risk factors for Alzheimers.
However, this study was the first to identify constipation as a possible risk factor. The link between the two conditions became apparent 7 years before the diagnosis of Alzheimers.
The connections made allowed us to confirm known associations, such as hearing problems or depression, and other less-known factors or early symptoms, such as cervical spondylosis or constipation, says Thomas Nedelec, Ph.D., the first author of the study.
The question remains as to whether the health problems encountered are risk factors, symptoms, or warning signs of the disease, he added.
In their paper, the authors conclude:
Risk Factors For Alzheimers Disease: How To Prevent Cognitive Decline
We all experience lapses in memory now and then, especially as we age. For most of us, these minor cognitive issues are usually just annoyances. But if your cognitive issues are interfering with your daily life, they could be the beginning of something far more serious. Read on to learn more about the risk factors for Alzheimers disease and how you can preserve your cognitive health.
What is Alzheimers Disease? Early signs and symptoms
Alzheimers disease is a form of dementia that impacts a persons ability to think, reason, and remember. It can severely impact quality of life as it progresses, eventually becoming completely debilitating. The most common type of Alzheimers disease is late-onset Alzheimers disease with symptoms usually emerging in a persons mid-60s.
According to the Alzheimers Association, ten early warning signs of late-onset Alzheimers disease include:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
If youre experiencing a cognitive problem that impacts your daily life, dont ignore it.Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can take action against cognitive decline.
What causes Alzheimers disease?
Harmful structures in the brain
Is Alzheimers genetic?
How can I prevent Alzheimers disease?
The Aviv Medical Program backed by a decade of research
Read Also: Purple Ribbon Alzheimer’s
Factors Linked To Increased Risk Of Alzheimers Disease
Although theres still no cure, researchers are continuing to develop a better understanding of what increases a persons risk of developing Alzheimers disease. A recent study that looked at 396 studies has even been able to identify ten risk factors that are shown to increase the likelihood of developing the disease.
Here are the factors researchers identified and why theyre associated with a higher risk.
The Brain And Alzheimer’s Disease
When a person has Alzheimerâs, their brain changes. It has fewer healthy cells, and it gets smaller over time. Most of the time, the brain cells also form two types of flaws:
- Neurofibrillary tangles. These are twisted fibers inside brain cells that keep nutrients and other important things from moving from one part of the cell to another
- Beta-amyloid plaques. These are sticky clumps of proteins that build up between nerve cells instead of breaking down like they do in healthy brains.
Plaques and tangles damage the healthy brain cells around them. The damaged cells die, and the brain shrinks. These changes cause the symptoms of Alzheimerâs, such as memory loss, speech problems, confusion, and mood swings.
Brain cells affected by the disease also make lower amounts of the chemicals called neurotransmitters that nerves use to send messages to each other.
Scientists don’t know if these brain cell changes cause Alzheimerâs or happen because of it.
Read Also: Is Bobby Knight Still Alive
What Can Lead To Alzheimer’s Disease
There are a few things that may make people more likely to get Alzheimerâs. So far, research has linked the disease with:
- Age. Your risk for Alzheimer’s goes up as you get older. For most people, it starts going up after age 65.
- Gender. Women get the disease more often than men.
- Family history. People who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimerâs are more likely to get it themselves.
- Down syndrome. Itâs not clear why, but people with this disorder often get Alzheimer’s disease in their 30s and 40s.
- Head injury. Some studies have shown a link between Alzheimer’s disease and a major head injury.
- Other factors. High cholesterol levels and high blood pressure may also raise your risk.
What Is Known About Alzheimers Disease
Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease. There likely is not a single cause but rather several factors that can affect each person differently.
- Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.
- Family historyresearchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimers disease. However, genes do not equal destiny. A healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers disease. Two large, long term studies indicate that adequate physical activity, a nutritious diet, limited alcohol consumption, and not smoking may help people. To learn more about the study, you can listen to a short podcast.
- Changes in the brain can begin years before the first symptoms appear.
- Researchers are studying whether education, diet, and environment play a role in developing Alzheimers disease.
- There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for subjective cognitive decline. Heres 8 ways.
Recommended Reading: Alzheimer’s Ribbon Color
What Are The Early Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimers
Alzheimers is characterized by the progressive loss of memory, cognition, judgment, reasoning, spatial awareness, communication, motor skills, and, eventually, the ability to live independently. Symptoms are easy to miss in the early stages but often include:
- Difficulty completing routine tasks
- Getting loss or losing things
- Missing appointments
- Forgetting recent events or conversations
- Poor judgment, especially with finances
- Difficulty finding words or writing
- Personality changes
Hebrew University At A Glance
Including 8 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Physics, and Economics.
Representing 30% of all academic scientific research in Israel.
Covering 2,800 inventions, more than 900 licensed technologies, and the launch of 170 spin-off companies.
Studying across 6 campuses, 7 faculties, together with 1,300 researchers.
Also Check: Alz Ribbon
Myths About The Cause Of Alzheimers Disease
In recent years there have been several myths about what causes AD, including viruses, aluminum, and flu shots. Lets take these one at a time to see if you really have anything to worry about:
VirusesDo viruses cause Alzheimers disease? What we know for sure is that the herpes virus can remain in the body long after a person gets it, and is found in the brains of some people with Alzheimers. When a brain fights a viral infection there is inflammation, and the brain creates amyloid beta proteins that decrease swelling but also form clumps that damage brain cells and cause Alzheimers. For this reason, people who have herpes virus, especially oral herpes with cold sores, are apparently at slightly higher risk of Alzheimers.
BacteriaAnother common illness that studies show increases risk of Alzheimers is gum disease. A person who gets bacterial infections in their gums is more likely to develop dementia than someone who does not. This is another reason oral hygiene is important.
Silver Dental FillingsA person with dental fillings is not more likely to get Alzheimers disease or related dementia, so its not causal, but studies have found that when someone does develop the illness in the brain, people with fillings have seen a faster progression of symptoms. The reason why remains unknown. The Food and Drug Administration, the Mayo Clinic, and the Alzheimers Association have all said that silver or amalgam fillings are safe.
Vascular Issues May Also Play A Role In Alzheimers Disease
Vascular problems those related to blood vessels, such as beta-amyloid deposits in brain arteries, ministrokes, and hardening of the arteries may be a cause of Alzheimers disease as well as a result of it.
Damaged arteries harm the brain by reducing the flow of blood, depriving brain cells of oxygen and essential nutrients like glucose preventing the elimination of toxic beta-amyloid and tau proteins and leading to damaging inflammation.
Researchers are working to identify exactly how and why this happens with the goal of interfering with this cycle.
A study published in 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association , following 322 subjects for over 20 years, found a relationship between vascular risk factors in middle age obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol and amyloid plaques in the brain.
The researchers found that subjects who had one risk factor had an 88 percent increased risk for elevated levels of amyloid plaques. People with two or more risk factors had almost triple the risk.
You May Like: Diet Soda And Alzheimer’s