Early Signs of Alzheimers
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Are you suspicious that you or loved one is developing Alzheimer's disease? Watch this video to learn about the early signs of the disease.
Transcript: Is a misplaced set of keys a sign of Alzheimer's disease? No. However, memory loss MAY be a sign of Alzheimer's...
Is a misplaced set of keys a sign of Alzheimer's disease? No. However, memory loss MAY be a sign of Alzheimer's if it REPEATEDLY DISRUPTS daily life. Other possible indications of Alzheimer's include: PERSISTENTLY misplacing possessions, forgetting about appointments and events, and repeating the same questions or stories. In addition, a person may be developing Alzheimer's if he or she has confusion or forgetfulness when handling tasks that used to be a BREEZE, such as making dinner, paying bills, driving to a relative's house or simply playing a favorite board game. In the early stages, a person may also have trouble following conversations or recalling familiar names and words. A new reliance on someone else, whether it's for help in completing daily TASKS or making simple DECISIONS, is also potentially a sign of developing Alzheimer's. If these behaviors sound familiar, consult a doctor. There is no single test that can diagnose Alzheimer's. And many other disorders can cause memory problems. To learn more about diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, check out the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-09 | Tags »
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When your loved one has multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease or another neurological disorder, your first-and second-- instinct is to provide care no matter what it takes. But who's looking out for you? Take this survey to tell us how you tend to your
Last Modified: 2013-10-04 | Tags »
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Find out how common these neurological conditions are and how life plays out after diagnosis.
Last Modified: 2014-02-18 | Tags »
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As a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, your life can be challenging. Watch this video for tips on caregiving for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Transcript: Taking on the role of caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease might've been natural...
Taking on the role of caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease might've been natural for you, but the love you have for your partner or parent doesn't make your RESPONSIBILITIES any LESS difficult. Let's run down a list of tips that might make your job a BIT easier. First, remember to take care of YOURSELF. Don't de-prioritize YOUR needs. Continue eating well and exercising on your own. Go see a movie. Take a yoga class. Find ways to DE-STRESS. Look for local programs called respite services-they can take over care for a few hours and allow you to do what you need to keep your life functioning. I also strongly suggest finding a support group for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease-you may need to talk with someone who knows what you're dealing with. Those support groups may also help you develop the VAST stores of patience and understanding you'll need as a caregiver. Whether it's dealing with your wife repeatedly dropping silverware or your father's grumpy attitude, you should take a deep breath and remind yourself that their behaviors are symptoms of their illness. In the early stages, make sure the lines of communication are kept open between you and the subject of your care. They should tell you when they need alone time, and vice versa. Open communication is also necessary when discussing legal, financial and end-of-life matters - all of these decisions should be made before your loved one reaches the later stages of disease. But if the conversation goes off track, don't get mad or try to change how they see the world or how they act-it's not something they have control over. And go with their flow of the conversation. Your role as caregiver is certainly demanding, but all you can do is try your best under the tough circumstances. Ask your loved one's doctor for more resources and ADVICE, and DON'T hesitate to lean on friends and other family members for support. In many situations the best care option for the Alzheimer's patient is NOT at home-particularly in advanced stages. You do not have to feel guilty about providing a medically and socially supportive environment where 24-7 attention can be paid. In addition, studies show it's also important for the health of the caregiver - allowing you to provide care for longer than if you kept the person at home.More »
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Alzheimer's treatments include a number of medications that help slow down the disease. You can get detailed information about these in our video here.
Transcript: Alzheimer's disease is an incurable, degenerative disease that robs a person of their memory and ability...
Alzheimer's disease is an incurable, degenerative disease that robs a person of their memory and ability to function independently. Thankfully, there ARE two types of medications that sometimes help soften the blow. Alzheimer's disease destroys the brain cells that release acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter heavily involved in memory, judgment and other brain functions. CHOLINESTERASE INHIBITORS work by slowing the BREAKDOWN of acetylcholine. Some experts believe that these drugs can delay the worsening of symptoms for up to a year, although the results vary widely. Three cholinesterase inhibitors are approved for various stages of Alzheimer's. Memantine-which is the only NMDA receptor antagonist prescribed for Alzheimer's disease-- is approved to treat moderate to SEVERE stages of the disease. It works by blocking the actions of EXCESS glutamate-an essential information-processing chemical. When nerve cells are damaged by plaques or tangles, glutamate levels rise significantly and trigger cognitive problems. People who take this drug may exhibit a small improvement in mental abilities and daily function. In addition to taking medication, Alzheimer's patients benefit from moderate exercise, social interaction and mental stimulation. All three MAY slightly improve symptoms and mood. To find out more about Alzheimer's, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
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Although there is no permanent cure for Alzheimer, there are a number of methods used for treating Alzheimer's disease and its symptoms. Watch in this video.
Transcript: The memory loss typical of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating, both to the individuals affected and...
The memory loss typical of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating, both to the individuals affected and to their family and friends. Luckily, some treatments may help. Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder of the elderly that currently has no cure. Still, medication options and non-drug treatment strategies can help patients and their families deal with its symptoms and consequences. Until recently, the only FDA-approved Alzheimer's drugs were the cholinesterase inhibitors. Today, these medications are marketed under the brand names Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne. Cholinesterase inhibitors prevent the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is important in the memory and thinking process. Unfortunately, cholinesterase inhibitors only work in about half of the people who try them, and they may lose their effectiveness as Alzheimer's disease progresses. In addition, these medications can have significant side effects, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Several years ago, a new drug called memantine, sold under the brand name Namenda, was approved to treat moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer's. Memantine is a drug that protects the brain from overexposure to glutamate, a normal neurotransmitter that, in excess, contributes to the death of brain cells in people with Alzheimer's. The medication's most common side effect is dizziness, although it can also increase agitation and delusional behavior in some patients. While treating Alzheimer's disease is important, it can also be beneficial to treat its symptoms. Patients in all stages of Alzheimer's may experience psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, agitation, irritability, and hallucinations. Generally, these behaviors are managed by identifying the behavior and its cause and then adapting the patient's environment to improve the situation. Often, the trigger for these symptoms is a change in the person's environment, such as hospitalization or travel. Treatment usually focuses on redirecting the patient's attention, often by simplifying routines or allowing rest between stimulating events. However, if behavioral symptoms persist, a doctor may prescribe medication to treat a patient's particular symptoms. Some common ailments that doctors medicate for include... General blue moods and irritability, which are treated with antidepressants, like Prozac or Zoloft.... Anxiety, restlessness and disruptive behavior, which are treated with anxiolytics, like Ativan and Serax.... And hallucination, aggression and uncooperativeness, which are treated with antipsychotic medications, like Haldol and Risperdal. Sleep aids may be prescribed for Alzheimer's patients who experience night terrors, or who are not sleeping well. Common options include Lunesta and Ambien. But even with the best treatment, medications, and care, Alzheimer's disease is progressive, and will continue to worsen with time. That's why scientists are hard at work to uncover new treatments that may benefit the Alzheimer's community. It's vitally important for people with Alzheimer's to have the support of family, friends and professional caregivers as they deal with the consequences of the disease. Talk to your doctor about the best possible treatment plan!More »
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As one progress through the stages of alzheimer’s disease it can become more difficult to cope. Watch the video to know more about the pattern it follows.
Transcript: Alzheimer's disease is degenerative, which means it becomes worse over time. Learn what to expect as...
Alzheimer's disease is degenerative, which means it becomes worse over time. Learn what to expect as Alzheimer's progresses. Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder which usually occurs in people over 65. Alzheimer's is fatal when the body ceases to function due to a complication of the disease, such as pneumonia. This disease can last anywhere from three to twenty years, averaging about seven to eight. The first sign is memory loss, followed by personality changes, and progressing to a loss of control over bodily functions. These changes gradually happen, in a generally distinguishable set of stages. In the early, or mild, stages of Alzheimer's, symptoms are not immediately evident. Then, a patient will begin to suffer small memory lapses, such as forgetting the names of familiar places or people. These initial changes can be mistaken for normal signs of aging. However, the decline in cognitive functioning is much more rapid and more severe in people with the disease. As Alzheimer's progresses, the afflicted individual may experience confusion about everyday tasks and people. They often become disoriented about time and place and tend to exercise poor judgment. More than 40 percent of people with early-stage Alzheimer's exhibit apathy about their life and condition. People with early-stage Alzheimer's can often continue living as they have been for some time, particularly when prescription medication is taken. However, the ability to live independently may be lost as an individual enters mid-stage Alzheimer's. At this point, patients often lose cognitive function rapidly, forgetting recent events and even their personal history. They may have trouble sorting out the names and faces of familiar people, and often forget personal information, like their home address or telephone number. Mid-stage Alzheimer's patients experience personality changes, as well, often becoming withdrawn. In addition, they may exhibit paranoid behavior and can even have hallucinations. People with mid-stage Alzheimer's have an increasing dependence on others, and may need help eating, dressing, grooming and using the toilet. Gradually, control of bodily function begins to decline as a person enters late-stage Alzheimer's. People in the late stage require round-the-clock care. Patients with late-stage Alzheimer's usually won't recognize others, or even know their own name. They can no longer communicate or move around without assistance. As Alzheimer's runs its course, the body slowly shuts down, and a resulting medical condition, like pneumonia, will lead to death. Although Alzheimer's disease is fatal, prescription medications can often help patients to maintain their quality of life for longer periods of time. The personality changes, cognitive lapses and eventual demise of a person with Alzheimer's disease are extremely difficult on both patients and their loved ones. For this reason, it is important to seek guidance and support from a doctor and care team.More »
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By understanding Alzheimer's disease the condition can be easier to manage. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: There are over 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer's disease...a number that is expected to rise to...
There are over 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer's disease...a number that is expected to rise to 14 million by 2050! So what IS Alzheimer's disease? Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and cognitive functioning. There is no cure for Alzheimer's and it eventually results in death. Alzheimer's is fairly new to medical literature. The first case was recorded by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, in 1901. Dr. Alzheimer noted changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had this disease. He found both amyloid plaques, or irregular clumps, and neurofibrillary tangles, or bunched up fibers, in his patient's brain. Today, doctors agree that both these physical changes are typical of Alzheimer's. Doctors have also learned that patients' nerve cells die and nerve connections are disrupted, leading to decreased memory and thinking. Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia, a group of disorders in which loss of brain cells leads to diminished mental function. Symptoms vary by individual and the progression of the disease, but most people with Alzheimer's experience degenerative memory loss and difficulty performing basic tasks. Many people with the disease often experience behavioral changes, rapid mood swings and loss of initiative. These symptoms, which are characteristic of the disease, can strike anyone. In 1994, former President Ronald Reagan joined the ranks of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Because he knew the condition would destroy his cognitive functioning, President Reagan spent the last years of his life in isolation with his wife, Nancy. In 2004, Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease at 93-years of age. Scientists haven't yet found a "reason" why brain cells fail and amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles develop. But there are several factors that can increase a person's chance of developing this disease. The greatest risk factor is age. Most people with the disease are 65 or older. For people over 85, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease rises to almost 50 percent! Another risk factor is the patient's family history. Those who have a grandparent, parent, or sibling with Alzheimer's are more likely to develop the condition themselves. Similarly, scientists know that genes play a role in the disease. There are currently two genes that have been identified as leading to Alzheimer's. A strong link between head injury and Alzheimer's disease has also been established. Brain health is connected to heart health, so high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and stroke can all increase the chances of developing this form of dementia. Because Alzheimer's can strike anyone, it's important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors, and to seek immediate treatment if you are experiencing abnormal memory loss or sudden personality changes.More »
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Aren't Alzheimer's and dementia the same thing? Not quite. Learn how they are two different conditions.
Transcript: Dementia and Alzheimer's. Both result in a loss of cognitive function, so many people assume that they're...
Dementia and Alzheimer's. Both result in a loss of cognitive function, so many people assume that they're DIFFERENT names for the SAME disease. In fact, dementia is a GENERAL description of cognitive problems such as memory loss, the inability to reason, communication problems, paranoia, and personality changes. Dementia can be caused by MANY different conditions or disorders. Alzheimer's is the most common TYPE of dementia, accounting for 50 to 70 percent of all cases. It's a degenerative brain disease that is characterized by the formation of what are called amyloid plaques and nerve fiber tangles. These clumps of runaway proteins interfere with the transmission of information from nerve to nerve. Over time, some areas of the brain shrink and other areas, where there is cerebrospinal fluid, enlarge. Other types of dementia include multi-infarct dementia-which is triggered by mini-strokes, and dementia associated with circulatory problems such as atherosclerosis. Dementia can also be triggered by infections that affect the central nervous system such as HIV or Parkinson's, chronic drug or alcohol use, depression, and complications from an injury. These types of dementia strike a diverse range of people, while Alzheimer's most often occurs in those over the age of 60. In fact 45% of people 85 or older develop Alzheimer's. It is possible to have more than one form of dementia, and Alzheimer's and vascular dementia are frequently co-conditions. To learn more about Alzheimer's disease, watch the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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For effective Alzheimer's treatment, it is important you have a full understanding of the disease. Watch this video for suggestions on Alzheimer's questions for your doctor.
Transcript: An Alzheimer's diagnosis is the FIRST step in establishing your management plan. Let's run down a list...
An Alzheimer's diagnosis is the FIRST step in establishing your management plan. Let's run down a list of questions you and your loved ones should discuss with your doctor. First question-what are the PROS and CONS of taking Alzheimer's medication? TWO types of medications sometimes slow memory loss and cognitive lapses for a few months to a few years. You should discuss the risks and benefits of each with your physician and possibly anyone who may be providing your care later. Next question - what can YOU do to help slow down the disease? In addition to taking medication, people with Alzheimer's disease should become physically and mentally active, and eat nutritiously-these actions may temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms. Here's another question-what is going to happen NEXT? It's an upsetting question for those in the early stages of Alzheimer's, but it IS important for you and your family members to prepare for the disease progression. There are 7 stages of Alzheimer's: They range from stage 1, no impairment, through stage 4, moderate decline, to stage 6, severe decline, in which a person will no longer remember their own personal history; and stage 7 when they are often completely bedridden and need help with all physical functions. The time line for each stage is completely individual. In general, people with Alzheimer's live about 9 to 12 years after a diagnosis at age 65. Last question-- How can my family and I help EACH OTHER? Your doctor may suggest that you organize your legal and financial matters now, before Alzheimer's prevents you from making sound decisions. Your family can take you to doctor's appointments, help you organize your house and schedule to accommodate your illness, and take over your care if or when Alzheimer's advances. You can and should ask your doctor additional questions-- these are just a FEW that should be touched upon in a talk with your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-12 | Tags »
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Alzheimer's disease can be diagnosed with a series of tests. Learn more about the various tests for Alzheimer's disease in this video.
Transcript: There is no ONE test that can provide a diagnosis for Alzheimer's. After taking a detailed medical history,...
There is no ONE test that can provide a diagnosis for Alzheimer's. After taking a detailed medical history, you'll receive a simple PHYSICAL, which includes a blood and urine test. This exam will help your doctor exclude other conditions that cause memory loss, such as thyroid conditions and vitamin deficiencies. You'll also undergo some mental status testing. There are a few tests that assess short and long term memory, communication skills, attention span and more. However, these tests will only prove whether or not you have DEMENTIA, not Alzheimer's specifically. After these short assessments, you may then undergo a few hours of neuropsychological tests, which are helpful in identifying the early stages of Alzheimer's and ruling out other reasons for dementia. Many doctors also use CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans to reject other possible causes of dementia, such as tumors, strokes, and head injuries. After examining the results of all your exams, a doctor will be able to conclude if your dementia is likely caused by Alzheimer's or another neurological problem. To learn more about Alzheimer's, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
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