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Things You Need To Know About Alzheimers

May 31, 2008
The current figures show that of people aged 65 and over, 10 percent are suffering from Alzheimer's disease; diagnosis of the condition has improved dramatically and is now approximately 87 to 94 percent accurate. Alois Alzheimer a German physician first discovered the disease back in 1906 but it has only really been in the world's focus for just over 30 years; it is a complex disease that is not yet fully understood.

Getting older is the main risk surrounding Alzheimer's according to research. The problem of early diagnosis is often down to the sufferer, who refuses to admit that anything is wrong even when they start to experience some of the symptoms; this can be difficult for friends and relations who do not know what the problem is.

Dementia covers quite a broad spectrum of problems but they are all, including Alzheimer's disease, currently treated in a similar fashion. Unfortunately, because there is still so much that is unknown about the disease, there is no definite way to treat it although some symptoms can be improved or slowed down with drugs. The three main medications currently approved for treatments of Alzheimer's disease are: Donepezil, Tacrine, and Rivastigmine; although it will vary from patient to patient, improvements in mental processes have been seen, lasting up to 6 months.

Memantine is a new drug that slows deterioration during the later stages and is a derivative of the decades old anti-influenza drug Amantadine; patients with mild to severe Alzheimer's who are already receiving Donepezil are now given Memantine as an alternative. Memantine side effects are minimal but it is the first treatment to show a distinct effect on patients with a serious condition; with more than four fifths of Memantine excreted through the kidneys, little remains in the patients system.

Alzheimer's disease is thought to be one of the largest public health problems, primarily due to an increase in the life expectancy of people in the world; this disease is now the fourth largest cause of death in America alone. Although contracting the disease is a tragedy, the cost of treatment and care for sufferers is causing economic vibrations everywhere; the annual cost of treatment and care for sufferers is in excess of 40 billion dollars and is expected to rise well beyond this in the future. Last year alone, the National Institute on Aging spent nearly one-half of its funding on research related to this insidious disease; there are currently hundreds of substances being tested for treatments around the world.

One of the few factors that you can change to alter your risk of developing dementia is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact researchers believe the happier and healthier someone is with Alzheimer's, the slower his or her decline. Luckily, early-onset symptoms of this disease are very rare because it primarily affects the elderly; however, there have been incidents where a younger person has contracted the disease although it is hoped these will not increase.
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