Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease)
© Jupiterimages / Polka Dot Images
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia: about 60 percent of people with dementia have Alzheimer's.
Women are affected about twice as often from Alzheimer's disease than men, which may have to do not least with the higher life expectancy. Moreover, familial clustering observed.
The causes of Alzheimer's are not fully understood. Experts suggest that certain risk factors can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. In addition, a familial aggregation is observed, suggesting a hereditary component.
The most important risk factor for Alzheimer's is the age: With age, the incidence is rising by leaps and bounds. Presumably, certain genetic mutations play a role. The influence of sex so far could not be unambiguously clear - although women so often affected about twice as men.
further possible risk factors are for example:
Our Alzheimer's video shows you the differences between a healthy brain and the brain of Alzheimer's patients.
In Alzheimer die in the brain nerve cells - this degradation, starts up to 20 years before the first symptoms. The ill person gradually loses mental capacity as etrwa spatial and temporal orientation and the memory, and personality changes. Exactly why the nerve cells die, is still unclear. , Scientists suspect that morbid protein deposits, so-called plaques, play a role and thus are a possible cause of Alzheimer's questioning.
Eventually these plaques store but not only passive - the morbid protein deposits can move like pathogens along the nerve pathways from cell to cell apparently. If confirmed this supposition, that would be the basis for novel therapeutic approaches.
Other features of Alzheimer's disease are characteristic Changes in brain neurotransmitters (So-called. Neurotransmitters). So memory disorders, concentration and attention difficulties are possibly due to a lack of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine be due. Acetylcholine plays an important role in the transmission of stimuli between nerve cells and between nerve and muscle cells.
An experienced doctor can usually detect by simple means Alzheimer's. Evidence of dementia, the doctor gets through the description of typical symptoms, the appearance of the person concerned and careful investigation.
For the study are so-called neuropsychological tests which show the nature and severity of memory impairment (eg minimum-Mental State Examination, dementia detection test) imperative. are also useful Depictions of members or other people who know the victims well and have noticed the first changes.
Imaging examination procedures, which represent the brain in layers are suitable under certain circumstances, to rule out other diseases. These include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). Even an advanced Alzheimer's disease can be represented with imaging techniques. In the early stages, however, the images are usually normal.
Various blood tests can rule out that this is a different Erkan Kung. Further steps, such as the examination of the cerebrospinal fluid, helping to clarify the causes: Often the cause is found in at an early stage specific proteins in the so-called cerebrospinal fluid that indicate the changes in the brain.
The Diagnosis is well established, if
Alzheimer's begins rare before age 65. How severe the symptoms in Alzheimer fail, depends on the degree of the disease. Experts differ fundamentally three stages:
a typical prodrome Alzheimer's dementia is the increasing inability to store new information: The ill person has difficulties adjusting to strange situations. Gradually, he becomes disoriented in familiar situations and environments. Short-term memory decreases rapidly. Another early symptom of Alzheimer's may be a smell disorder.
Finding words and Wortverwechselungen (Aphasia) are also characteristic symptoms in Alzheimer's disease. The interested party also tends to bring motions confused. He has, for example, issues a familiar coffee to use to button the shirt or he forgotten how to deal with cutlery.
in the final stage Alzheimer's disease can return reflections from early childhood, such as gripping or the sucking reflex. The interested party often does not recognize close family members and friends and must be maintained around the clock. Organic functions may be increasingly impaired:
in the late stage of Alzheimer's disease other physical ailments can be added. This includes
Alzheimer's can not yet be cured. It is therefore important that the disease is detected as early as possible is. The therapy therefore confines itself to the alleviate symptoms and the to slow progression of the disease. Currently available drugs help to delay disease progression. The goal is to get the person concerned as long as possible his quality of life and self-determination.
A early medical treatment and a good integration in psycho- and socio-therapeutic measures serve not only to Alzheimer's sufferers relieve themselves and those who care for him -. mostly members. Importantly: The Alzheimer's patient should feel at home and feel that they can participate in social activities despite his illness continues. To support him, are various treatment methods, for example
The earlier Alzheimer's is diagnosed, the better the treatment options and opportunities for all concerned to plan the best possible life with the disease.
Modern drugs - so-called. anti-dementia drugs - can slow the progression of Alzheimer's. They help to improve memory, well-being and ability to concentrate. The aim is that the people with dementia remain independent as long as possible.
For drug treatment of Alzheimer's are two groups of substances available:
Meanwhile there are some acetylcholinesterase inhibitors available, which are mainly used for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease - as the active ingredients
The substances can cause side effects, especially to complaints of the gastrointestinal tract, but also cause insomnia and headaches. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by about six months.
Another drug for the treatment of advanced Alzheimer memantine. This drug acts on the neurotransmitter glutamate. Memantine improves daily skills, for example, those affected can attract more independently, eat and drink. Possible side effects include: dizziness, restlessness and irritability. Memantine is increasingly been used in the early stages of the disease. However, there has been no scientific evidence that memantine also helps in mild Alzheimer's.
Ginkgo biloba supplements are often used to treat mild cognitive impairment and early dementia - but experts do not recommend these drugs as it is not proven sure that they actually work.
At least as important as the drug therapy is a good care of sufferers. Paternalism or underload are just as little sense as an excessive demand.
are especially in advanced disease stages predetermined daily routine and familiar caregivers particularly important. Participation in social activities builds confidence and gives the stakeholders feel are still needed.
Self-help groups, specialists and specialized memory clinics for dementia have contact points to inform patients and their families and support.
Typical of Alzheimer's disease is a slow, continuously progressive course of years or decades. In very rare cases, the disease can also progress rapidly.
Although Alzheimer's is not uniform in all affected individuals, there are characteristic phases:
Since the causes of Alzheimer's disease are not fully understood until now, the disease does not specifically prevent. However, there are possible Risk factors that may affect you:
1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and adequate exercise. This allows you to avoid risk factors such as diabetes mellitus (diabetes), hypertension, severe obesity or high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) often. If this is not possible, let this underlying diseases treated early! The same applies to a malfunction of the thyroid gland, for example, an underactive thyroid.
2. Avoid largely on nicotine and alcohol.
3. may be able to Alzheimer's by mental (as Brain), prevent social and physical activities.
Dementia Competence Network
Dementia Competence Network is currently ines of 17 competence networks in medicine that are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It has set itself the goal to address key shortcomings in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.
German Alzheimer Society e.V.
The German Alzheimer Society is a nonprofit organization. It is national association of Alzheimer state associations as well as regional and local Alzheimer societies.