There is currently no cure or treatment that will stop or reverse the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. There are however currently four FDA-approved drugs that may be able to relieve symptoms for patients for a limited time such as memory loss. Doctors may prescribe Aricept®, Exelon®,Razadyne® or Galantamine®. Moderate to severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be treated with Aricept®, Exelon® and Namenda®. For more information on these products and to access prescribing information, please visit the manufacturers’ websites. There are other medications that can be prescribed to control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, anxiety and depression associated with Alzheimer’s. While treating the symptoms may make situations more comfortable, they may also come with additional side effects. Please consult with your doctor.

KEEP MENTALLY ACTIVE

Research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserve of brain cells and connections, even generation of new brain cells. Higher levels of education, and brain activity, appear to have a somewhat protective effect against Alzheimer’s. You could still get Alzheimer’s, but symptoms may appear later.

 

DO SMALL THINGS TO KEEP ACTIVE

  • Brain exercises
  • Read, Write
  • Work, Puzzles
  • Play Games
  • Garden

With an aging population and increasing number of people with Alzheimer’s, and no cure or treatment out there today, the need for Give To Cure has never been greater. It is critical that we help accelerate the pace of research and get treatments to patients that need it most today.

DIAGNOSIS

Early diagnosis offers the best hope to treat and manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. While there is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer’s, doctors today can accurately diagnose the presence of Alzheimer’s almost 90% of the time through a complete medical assessment using non-invasive methods. Diagnosis requires careful evaluation, including:

  • Medical history – such as questions about patient’s health, past medical problems, family history
  • Cognition tests – such as memory, problem solving, attention level, language, ability to carry out daily tasks
  • Medical tests – such as blood and brain imaging
  • The first step is to find a doctor you are comfortable with. Many people contact their regular primary care physician or internist about their concerns. Primary care doctors often oversee the diagnostic process themselves or may refer you to a specialist. Specialists include neurologists, psychiatrists or psychologists.

GENETIC TESTING

Researchers have identified certain genes that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or deterministic genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s.

RISK GENES

APOE-e4 is the strongest risk gene for Alzheimer’s. This test is most often used in clinical trials to identify people with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Carrying this gene does not indicate whether a person will develop Alzheimer’s or whether a person has Alzheimer’. Such testing is controversial and should only be undertaken after discussion with your physician.

DETERMINISTIC GENES

Tests are also available for genes that cause a rare form of Alzheimer’s, called Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s Disease (ADAD) or “familial Alzheimer’s”. Some people do not want to know their genetic status, while others want to learn whether they will eventually get the disease. ADAD tends to develop earlier in life and runs strongly in families.

There are currently no medications that cure or stop Alzheimer’s from progressing. There are some FDA-approved treatments that may help lessen symptoms such as memory loss.
The seven stage Global Deterioration Scale, also known as the Reisberg Scale, includes the following dimensions: STAGE 1 - NO IMPAIRMENT Memory and cognitive abilities appear normal. STAGE 2 - MINIMAL IMPAIRMENT/NORMAL FORGETFULNESS STAGE 3 - MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT STAGE 4 - MODERATE COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT/MILD ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE STAGE 5 - EARLY DEMENTIA/MODERATE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE STAGE 6 - MIDDLE DEMENTIA/MODERATELY SEVERE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE STAGE 7 - LATE OR SEVERE DEMENTIA/SEVERE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

Most people experience some level of forgetfulness. Understanding the difference between normal and an early symptom of Alzheimer’s is an important step. Alzheimer’s disease begins slowly and in its early stages, appears as short-term memory loss. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate.

NormalPotential Early Alzheimers Disease*
Can’t find your keysRoutinely place important items in odd places, such as keys in the fridge, wallet in dishwasher
Search for casual names and wordsForget names of family members and common objects, or substitute words with inappropriate ones
Briefly forget conversation detailsFrequently forget entire conversations
Can’t find a recipeCan’t follow recipe directions
Feel the cold moreDress regardless of weather, wear several skirts on a warm day or shorts in a snow storm
Make an occasional wrong turnGet lost in familiar places, don’t remember how you got there or how to get home
Feel occasionally sadExperience rapid mood swings, from tears to rage, for no discernible reason
* Please consult with a physician if you believe you may be experiencing these symptoms.