Alzheimer's Disease

by Meredith Crifasi

Common names for Alzheimer's Disease

  • AD
  • Alzheimer dementia (AD)
  • Alzheimer sclerosis
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Alzheimer Syndrome
  • Alzheimer-type dementia (ATD)
  • DAT
  • Familial Alzheimer disease (FAD)
  • Presenile and senile dementia
  • Primary Senile Degenerative Dementia
  • SDAT

What causes Alzheimer's?

Scientists believe that this disease is a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Lifestyle can increase one's risk for Alzheimer's disease by being physically inactive and not maintaining activities that engage the brain such as reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments, and participating actively in life. A bad diet may also increase one's risk. Genetics, however, is an important factor in the development of Alzheimer's. Your likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease increases if a family member has it. In most cases, the greatest risk factor is old age. Although Alzheimer's is not fully understood, scientists can still see the effects on the brain. Quite simply, Alzheimer's damages and kills brain cells resulting in memory loss.

What gene is affected by this disorder?

When a child is born, it inherits one APOE gene from their mother and another from their father. The child will then have two copies of the APOE gene. Studies show that if the child has at least one APOE e4 gene, it increases the child's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, if the child has two APOE e4 genes, the child's risk is even higher. However, the majority of people affected by this disease are 65 years of age or older. Though it can affect people in their 40s.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Some symptoms of Alzheimer's are memory loss that disrupts daily life. This means that people usually forget certain dates or recent information, maybe even forgetting what they had for breakfast that day. The memory can be so negatively affected that often times the victim does not even remember family members or how to get dressed or even remember to eat. Other obstacles caused by the disease are challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure. Also, a victim of Alzheimer's disease may experience confusion with time or place, have trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, struggle speaking or writing words, misplace things and lose the ability to retrace steps. Other symptoms include displays of poor judgment, withdrawal form work or social activities, and changes in mood and personality. So if you notice any of these symptoms or know someone who has these symptoms, please seek treatment from a medical professional immediately.

Alzheimer's Screening

Tuesday, April 28th, 8:30am

The Medical Offices of Meredith Crifasi, MD and Annabel Kuhn, MD

If you have any of the above symptoms or know someone who does, please attend this free Alzheimer's screening. And remember, if the patient had early-onset ADHD, he or she should be screened, too. So, don't wait -- get screened now! It is a painless brain test and blood test. You will undergo a complete analysis by a board certified neuropsychologist and answer many questions to check your brain function. Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to fill out the necessary paperwork. Plan on 6 hours to complete all testing.

Affected Population

For American's, there are 5.1 million people with Alzheimer's Disease today.

Can anyone get this disease?

Yes, anyone can get Alzheimer's disease. However, since this disease is known to have an genetic autosomal dominant pattern, you can inherit the disease. Your likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease is 4 to 10 times greater if you have a first-degree relative with it than someone who has no family history of the disease. Recently, it has been discovered that the risk is higher for people who have a mother with Alzheimer's disease than for those who have a father or no parent with the disease. Another important fact worth noting is that almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women. Of the 5.1 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's in the United States, 3.2 million are women and 1.9 million are men. Although there are more non-Hispanic whites living with Alzheimer's and other dementias than people of other ethnicities in the U.S., this disease does not discriminate -- anyone of any race can get it!

Children & Alzheimer's

It is highly unlikely for a child to have Alzheimer's disease. However, it is worth noting that early-onset ADHD can be a contributing factor for the development of Alzheimer's later in life.

Treatments and Cures for Alzheimer's

As of right now, there are no treatments available to cure Alzheimer's. However, there are treatments and medications to help slow down memory loss, though, it cannot stop it completely or prevent it. Medications can also be given to calm someone down when they are agitated. And as of right now, this disease cannot be prevented. There are ways, however, to reduce your risk for developing the disease:

  • Remain physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol level
  • Reduce your risk for diabetes
  • Eat a healthy diet consisting mostly of fish, vegetables, and fruits. Reduce your intake of red meat, processed meat, fatty foods and foods high in sugar.
  • Maintain cardiovascular health
  • Exercise your brain by doing crossword puzzles, reading, going to concerts, attending lectures and museums, playing musical instruments, and engaging with people.

If someone has Alzheimer's, can they still have children?

If someone has Alzheimer's, they can still have children. However, their offspring may or may not be affected by the disease.
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Current Status of Research

At the moment, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. Researchers have been studying the quality of life, prevention trials, and also doing some online studies to better understand the disease as well as find causes, treatments, and cures. Right now, they are working on new drugs and testing them to see if they help in the future.

Did you know?

If you are caring for a loved one who has been stricken with Alzheimer's disease you should:

  • Never let them drive a car
  • Never leave them unattended
  • Never let them make major decisions
  • Never let them live alone
  • Never ask "do you remember"
  • Never argue with or contradict the person
  • Never delay nursing home placement when it is needed
  • Never stop visiting them even if they don't remember you

Websites Listed Below

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