5 signs of Alzheimer's

July 14, 2010 8:56:47 AM PDT
According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder named after Alois Alzheimer. Alois Alzheimer first described the illness in 1906.

There are approximately 5.3 million Americans who live with this disease on a daily basis. Alzheimer's causes brain damage along with the breakdown of brain cells and memory loss. It is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a very serious illness that affects ones ability to think and perform daily life functions.

Alzheimer's is the leading cause of dementia. It accounts for approximately 50 to 80 percent of all Dementia cases. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's disease gets progressively worse over time and the end result is fatal. The Alzheimer's Association says it has become the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, there is treatment for the illness. According to the National Institute on Aging, there is no one single cure or preventative for Alzheimer's, however, the FDA has approved four different medications that can be taken to help maintain cognitive abilities and better control behavioral activities. These medications are: Donepezil, Rivastigmine, Galantamine and Memantine.

These drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. "They may help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills and may help with certain behavioral problems," as noted on the National Institute on Aging's website.

WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMERS: In the daily blog of Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., Dr. Weil notes the five main warning signs of Alzheimer's. The first and most important warning sign is memory loss, such as forgetting important dates and recently learned information. The second most common warning sign is challenges when trying to solve a problem. The third warning sign is when familiar tasks start becoming unfamiliar. In this case, routine tasks such as remembering how to get to get to a certain location or remembering phone numbers becomes difficult. The fourth warning sign is being confused about time and location. The fifth and final most important warning sign for the onset of Alzheimer's is trouble understanding pictures and other visual images. It is at this point that colors seem non-existent and the ability to differentiate between distance and physical objects becomes intricate.

? For More Information, Contact:

Alzheimer's Association 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17 Chicago, IL 60601-7633 (800) 272-3900


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