Alzheimer And Memory Loss With Aging

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder of brain which is characterized by memory loss and ultimately leads to dementia and even death. It is one of the forms of dementia (loss of brain function) which affects memory, thinking, judgment and behavior. Dementia is a brain disorder which seriously affects person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer (a German Doctor) who had noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. It is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain followed by a slow, progressive decline in mental and social function. Older aged people are more prone to this disease and the risk is higher in female than male. More than 4 million Americans currently are assumed to have Alzheimer’s disease. It is not sure about the proper causes; however the risk factors for the disease include aging, environment factors, family history, very old high blood pressure, history of head trauma, and high level of homocysteine (a body chemical that contributes to chronic illness like heart diseases, depression and Alzheimer). Nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin B1, folic acid, and vitamin B12 may be one of the causative factors. Environmental toxins like aluminum and mercury are equally responsible for the cause of the disease.

In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells die in areas of the brain that are vital to memory and other mental abilities, and connections between nerve cells are disrupted. It is a slow disease, which starts with mild memory problems and ends with severe brain damage and consequently a complete loss of memory. A person forgets how to perform daily functions like brushing teeth, using toilets, getting dressed, etc. Alzheimer's disease can also affect personality and the ability to make decisions. Patients with Alzheimer's disease have depressed mood and behavioral disturbances. There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease however certain substances can slow the progression of disorder and improve functioning of brain.

There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease; early onset and late onset. Symptoms appear before age of 60 in early onset type; whereas in late onset, type, the symptoms appear in the people of 60 and older. Alzheimer’s disease includes the followings symptoms:

  • Changes in personality
  • Memory Problems
  • Misplacing items
  • Repeating statements
  • Having trouble finding names for familiar objects
  • Inability to manage the basic tasks
  • Forgetting details about current events
  • Delusions, depressions, agitation, hallucinations
  • Violent behavior
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Episodes of violence and child like passivity
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

There are some medicines that can provide symptomatic relief in Alzheimer’s disease, but not a cure. They help people feel more comfortable and to sleep well and feel less worried. Most of the natural supplements prevent or stop depression associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants have been believed to be effective in preventing and in symptomatic relief of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some treatment tips for this condition.

Unprocessed foods are recommended. The antioxidant vitamins A, C & E are capable of destroying free radicals in the body system and hence fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant vitamins are beneficial.

Fish oil is very important since it is the source of DHA (low level of DHA are a risk factor for the disease), an essential fatty acid involved in brain function and GPA, which reduces inflammation.

Using of turmeric as a spice is useful. Pumpkin seeds are sometimes believed to be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease since they contain zinc, which is deficient in the diseased condition. Besides, eating plenty of clean water (to detoxify the toxins in the body) and fiber rich foods (to remove toxins through the digestive tract) are advantageous. Junk foods, foods containing toxins and additives, caffeine, alcohol are some of the foods to avoid in Alzheimer’s disease.

The herbs called Ginkgo biloba and Huperzia serrata (Club moss) have shown to be helpful for the people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Aswagandha (Withania somniferrum) is used as brain tonic and it reduces stress hormone levels. Similarly Panax ginseng is useful in improving memory and balancing stress hormone levels. Cordyceps sinensis (Chinese medicine) is used in poor memory. Vitamin B1 improves mental function.

Aromatherapy can be another alternative treatment strategy. Oils of lavender, jasmine, geranium, neroli, bergamot, rose, etc can help for relaxing and soothing effects in Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly Juniper and black pepper are useful to break down toxins that reside within fatty deposits and to stimulate digestion & improving absorption of nutrients respectively. Regular exercise and avoiding sources of aluminum and mercury are important recommendations in Alzheimer’s disease.

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References:

  1. Medline Plus(http://www.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. James F.Balch, Mark Stengler. Prescription for Natural Cures. Johnson Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey.pp33-40. 2004
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org
  4. http://www.mercksource.com
  5. Alzheimer's Disease Education & Referral Center (ADEAR) (http://www.nia.nih.gov/ Alzheimers/AlzheimersInformation/GeneralInfo/)
  6. http://www.answers4alzheimers.com


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