Although Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, the risk of developing the illness increases with advanced age. Learn the basics of the condition here.
A Brain with Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that occurs when abnormal deposits of protein form plaques in the brain, and twisted strands of protein, called tangles, begin to disrupt the brain’s cell transport system. The result is cell death and tissue loss, which impacts the ability to think and remember. Why Alzheimer’s begins in an otherwise healthy brain is a question that remains unanswered.
Treatments Four medications are approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s. Donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), or galantamine (Razadyne®) are used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s (donepezil can be used for severe Alzheimer’s as well). Memantine (Namenda®), is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.
Getting Care Eventually, most people who have Alzheimer’s will need outside care. For patients remaining at home, care options range from respite care to adult day centers to home health services. As Alzheimer’s progresses, caregivers may turn to residential options including assisted living and specialized dementia care facilities for more support.
What You Can Do Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, certain lifestyle measures can help keep your brain sharp as you age. These include: