Home care in Charleston, SC

  • 1064 Gardner Road
  • Suite 301
  • Charleston, SC 29407

What Is Alzheimer’s? Five Frequently Asked Questions for Charleston Seniors

May 31st, 2016

An Explanation of Alzheimer's for Charleston Seniors

Answering 5 Frequently Asked Questions to Explain Alzheimer's for Charleston Seniors

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 47 million people worldwide, and that number continues to grow. Experts estimate 76 million people will suffer from the degenerative cognitive disease by 2030[1]. Recognizing the ever-pressing need for research, the Alzheimer’s Association has organized Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this June to bring attention to this fatal disease. To bolster their efforts, we’ve answered five frequently asked questions about the disease below. We’ll continue blogging all month about Alzheimer’s, so check back next week for more.
What causes Alzheimer’s?

More research is necessary to thoroughly understand the causes of Alzheimer’s. However, it’s generally accepted that the late-onset form of the disease (by far the most prevalent) develops slowly over decades based on a variety of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Having a close relative with the disease increases a person’s chance of getting it, but by no means guarantees it.[2] As for environmental and lifestyle variables, increasing age is the most significant risk factor, but high blood pressure and diabetes can also play a role.[3]
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is most commonly characterized by mental confusion and forgetfulness, but these symptoms also accompany normal aging. What’s the difference? The Alzheimer’s Association lists ten typical signs of Alzheimer’s, including memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, and difficulty completing familiar tasks[4] They also differentiate these symptoms from the milder signs of normal cognitive decline. For instance, while a normal older adult might occasionally struggle to balance their checkbook or forget an important name or date and then remember it later, these difficulties are more persistent for an Alzheimer’s sufferer.[5]
What’s the typical Alzheimer’s prognosis?

For people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the exact timeline, symptoms, and severity of their disease can vary.[6] However, the trajectory of the disease tends to flow through seven distinct phases, originally outlined by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University.[7] The arc generally begins with symptoms similar to those of normal aging,[8] proceeds through gradually worsening stages that can include difficulty with simple arithmetic and forgetting personal details,[9] and ends with severe decline typified by the inability to swallow.
Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s?

There’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s, only treatments that can ease symptoms.[10] The FDA has approved two types of medications (cholinesterase inhibitors, such as Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne, and memantine, found in Namenda) that diminish mental confusion, memory loss, and other cognitive symptoms, but these do not reverse the underlying causes.[11] Likewise, many tout alternative supplements—gingko biloba and coenzyme Q10 among them—but no clinical trials have been done to confirm these. Thus, the need for more rigorous research is ever-pressing.
How can I prevent Alzheimer’s?

As with many degenerative illnesses, a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, balanced diet, and sound sleep habits, may help prevent Alzheimer’s. Perhaps most notable is the correlation between high blood pressure and high cholesterol and the incidence of the disease. Doctors recommend getting these numbers under control, not only for Alzheimer’s prevention but for general good health.[12]

[1] http://alz.org/abam/?_ga=1.84317712.865058079.1393898811#getTheFacts

[2] https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/testing-alzheimers-disease-guidelines/ 7th graf

[3] http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimersdisease/faq/faq8.html 2nd graf

[4] http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp#typical numbers 1, 2, 3 on list

[5] http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp#typical numbers 1 and 2 on list

[6] http://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/ graf 1

[7] http://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/ graf 2

[8] http://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/ stage 2

[9] http://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/ stages 4

[10] http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_treatments.asp

[11] http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.asp grafs 1 and 2

[12] http://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia/alzheimers-and-dementia-prevention.htm

 

BrightStar Home Care of Charleston proudly provides support for the elderly and children, including 24 hour skilled nursing and support in senior independent and assisted living communities. Additionally we provide Medical Staffing and In-Home Physical Therapy for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients, Companion and Personal Care for Elders with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We also provide Home Child Care, Sitter and Nanny services for Children and Support for New Mothers. We Support Veterans and Accept most Long Term Care Insurance benefits, provide Hospice care, Live-in care, CNA, Caregiver, RN, LVN, RN Supervision, Compassionate Care, and Compatibility Guarantees. Other services include safe discharge and transportation from the hospital or rehab facility, Post Op care both short and long term, Pre Operation and preparation help and assistance, and client monitoring for out of town family members. Our service area includes Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Hanahan, Sullivan's Island, and Charleston County.