Alzheimer’s, one of the types of dementia that is defined as “dementia” among the people, is a disease that develops over time due to the death of brain cells and occurs due to protein accumulation in the brain. This important problem, which causes a decrease in the cognitive functions of the person, is the most common disease causing dementia today. Because the most important risk factor for the disease is advanced age and its incidence increases markedly with age.
Often seen after the age of 60
In Alzheimer’s, the brain shrinks and shrinks due to cell losses in the brain. While Alzheimer’s causes simple forgetfulness in its initial period, it gradually erases the experiences of the recent past as it progresses. We can say that the complaints of Alzheimer’s disease, which are often seen after the age of 60, appear gradually. Therefore, the initial stage of the disease may not be noticed by the person himself or his immediate surroundings.
Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet fully understood, it is estimated that the loss of brain cells occurs much earlier than expected. In other words, although the loss of brain cells with advancing age is considered normal, the cell loss in Alzheimer’s occurs much faster and more than expected. Mild forgetfulness, which is among the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in the initial period, progresses over time and leads to unconsciousness. Forgetfulness, which is among the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, is mild in the initial stage of the disease, but over time it brings the person to a point where he cannot perform even simple actions such as chatting.
How is it diagnosed?
In the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, first of all, the patient’s history is taken from the relatives of the patient and the neurological examination of the person is performed. After the neurological tests, when the physician deems it necessary, neurocognitive tests, radiological imaging such as MR, CT, PET, and laboratory tests for the examination of some hormones, vitamins and other necessary values can be performed. In the light of the findings obtained, the person is re-evaluated and in some cases, genetic tests can be performed to clarify the diagnosis. Alzheimer’s is diagnosed in the light of all data and especially according to the course of the disease. Despite extensive research on Alzheimer’s, there is no treatment method for curing the disease yet. However, there are different treatment approaches aimed at slowing the progression of the disease and reducing existing complaints.
Treatments are tailored to the individual
Treatments that are tailored to the individual are usually started with the use of low-dose medication. In the following period, the patient can be re-examined and the dose of the drugs can be increased if necessary. In non-drug treatments; healthy and balanced diet, physical activity and exercise, weight control, reducing and controlling stress, social activities, reducing vascular-metabolic risks (hypertension, diabetes control, etc.) and regulating them. It is aimed to increase the quality of life of the patient and their relatives, thanks to the treatment methods that aim to enable the person to do his/her daily activities on his/her own. Loss of life due to Alzheimer’s disease is mostly due to pneumonia and stroke.
A new drug has been developed
No new drug has been developed for Alzheimer’s for nearly 20 years, but a drug approved by the FDA this year, which is claimed to modify the disease and reduce amyloid plaques in the brain, gave everyone hope. However, it is too early to comment definitively on the effect and results on patients. Although the studies are insufficient for now, this can be considered as a very big step. If sufficient evidence is obtained that the drug is safe and effective, we can say that it has the potential to be a very good treatment method for patients.