What Every Senior Should Know About Alzheimers

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Alzheimers is a devastating illness for which there is no known cure. It affects the mind, causing severe memory loss over time.

While this disease progresses rapidly in some cases, in many instances the progression is slow yet heart breakingly steady.

As Alzheimers is a common disease among the elderly, it is important to be aware of how to prevent it, what the treatment options are and how to recognize the early onset of Alzheimers.


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Preventing Memory Loss

Researches and medical professionals are still unsure of what causes Alzheimers and how it can be prevented.

However, it appears that a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent and even slow the onset of this chronic disease. As a senior you should strive to stay physically healthy by eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise.


Staying mentally alert is also important and a number of mental acuity exercises have been shown to help improve mental health as we age.

A person who wants to avoid getting Alzheimers or dementia should consider keeping in touch with family and friends, take courses and/or classes in a field that he or she is interested in and stay interested in life and all that it has to offer.

Getting enough sleep and avoiding stress is also important and helps reduce your risk factor for the memory disease. The average senior is recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Those who have insomnia should look for natural cures for this condition to help prevent the disease.

Reducing stress is also very important. While retirement and aging bring with it unique challenges, stressing over these challenges is directly linked to causing an increased risk for health problems.

Avoiding head trauma is also important as brain injuries can trigger the onset of the disease along with similar memory symptoms.

Interestingly, research has also found that a heart condition can also increase one’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s. While studies are inconclusive, it should be noted that eighty percent of Alzheimer’s patients also have cardiovascular problems.  For this reason we recommend taking action to improve cardiovascular health along with mental health.

Known Causes of Alzheimers

The root cause of Alzheimers is still unknown. However, research indicates that risk factors for this condition can be genetic to some extent. If a person’s parents had this condition, then the chances are fairly high that he or she will also have this Alzheimer related memory loss.

Age is also primary related cause; in fact, one out of every eight people over the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer’s. The odds increase the older you get.  At present, around half of all American citizens over the age of 85 have this condition.

Common Symptoms

The Alzheimers Association has made a list of ten signs that indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s. These signs include forgetfulness, the inability to follow a conversation, having difficulty keeping track of times and seasons, misplacing items in odd places, lack of desire to engage in social activities, inability to manage finances and irritability when a routine is disrupted.

Those who have this disease may also have visual problems and difficulties understanding time concepts.

However, it should be noted that many senior citizens do become more forgetful as they get older. And I for one can attest to having become irritable from time to time, without its being caused by Alzheimers.

Forgetting an appointment or misplacing an item does not mean that one has Alzheimers.

However, if you have are experiencing two or more of the above mentioned symptoms you should seek out medical help right away.  An early diagnosis will enable you to get the right form of treatment.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, but it is not the only form of dementia that is common among seniors. Two other forms of dementia that are prevalent are vascular dementia and mild cognitive impairment. Vascular dementia is similar to Alzheimers in that it renders you unable to care for yourself.

This type of dementia is generally caused by a series of strokes.

Mild cognitive impairment is not as severe as Alzheimer’s but it does affect a seniors ability to reason, remember and care for oneself.

Treatment Options

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.

However, there are several medications that have been approved by the FDA for the treatment and control of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

These medications can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription and can help an affected individual for a limited period of time. Galantamine and Rivastigmin can be taken by those who have mild to moderate AD symptoms. Donepezil can be taken by anyone with Alzheimer’s, even those who have severe symptoms. Another medication that is used by those with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s is Memantine. One should note that these medications will naturally have side effects.

Anyone who experiences negative side effects from taking one or more of these medications should seek medical help.

As was noted above, a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent Alzheimers.

Eating healthy foods and getting plenty of exercise can also greatly benefit a person who has already been diagnosed with this condition.

Research has also shown that smoking and drinking can contribute to dementia. A person over the age of 65 will want to cut back on alcohol intake and quit smoking, especially if he or she has already been diagnosed with some form of dementia.

Caring for Alzheimers

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia can be pretty scary. A person who has Alzheimer’s will want to find a caregiver as soon as possible. One should also prepare legally by creating a power of attorney and a will.

A wise individual will make plans for the future while he or she is still mentally capable and can think through various options and alternatives.

Getting the help of family members and friends is very important.

Alzheimers affects not only the victim of the disease but also those who are close to him or her. There are also various institutions and government entities that offer support to Alzheimers victims and their families.

These institutions can provide good practical advice for a person who has this disease or who is caring for someone with AD.

Alzheimers is a frightening disease, especially since the exact cause and cure are still unknown. However, it is not something that will automatically affect every senior citizen and a person can try to avoid this disease with a healthy lifestyle.

Anyone who suspects that he or she may have symptoms of Alzheimers will want to get medical help, as there are some medications that can delay various Alzheimer’s symptoms. Getting support is also very important, as family and friends can help a person to prepare for the future while the Alzheimer’s symptoms are still mild.

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