Old age catches up with us as we go on in years. Physical and mental weakness are only to be expected. Among the illnesses that arise with age is Alzheimer’s disease. This goes beyond deterioration in memory. This encompasses an elderly person’s difficulties in normal activities such as social interactions, work, reasoning, thinking, learning, and communicating. This even makes the patient have difficulty in recognizing a friend or a loved one. You should always make sure to coordinate well with your doctor to make sure that you manage the condition well with the patient. There are several stages of Alzheimer’s that you should be aware of when you have an elderly loved one or friend. The stages are
- normal (normal range of memory and thinking);
- forgetfulness for normal-aged people (happens to people over 65 years of age that have difficulties in physical and mental functions—things that happened recently or from 5-10 years ago, and the proper words to use are mostly forgotten);
- cognitive impairment that is mild (the person tends to repeat questions, organization skills and strategy skills decline); mild Alzheimer’s(less ability to manage activities of daily living—happens for 2 years);
- moderate Alzheimer’s (assistance in all necessities and activities of daily living is required);
- moderately severe Alzheimer’s (activities should be well-supervised already from changing clothes to using the toilet);
- and severe Alzheimer’s (mobility is compromised, speech is limited already, dependence when it comes to daily activities).
Treatment of Alzheimer’s diseases or AD is in the medications prescribed. For the disease itself, there is no real cure. Alzheimer’s drugs are just formulated to slow down or prevent the disease from progressing. This happens for a limited period only. Here are some of the known Alzheimer’s drugs that are used today:
This is one of the cognitive Alzheimer’s drugs. This medication slows down the deterioration of the chemicals in the brain that allow the brain cells to communicate. Aricept is often given to those who are still in the early stages of AD. For eighteen months, the patient has to take this medicine. Side effects are weight loss due to vomiting, insomnia, and nausea.
Cognex is given for the improvement of the mental and memory faculties. It is to be taken four times each day. Unlike other Alzheimer’s drugs, Cognex is not for everyone. It is only a mildly effective medication. If you are taking this drug, it is advisable that you undergo weekly blood tests because you have to be tested for liver damage. Other side effects are abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea, and skin rashes.
This drug is prescribed in low doses first because of the problems that occur in the gastrointestinal tract. The low doses will be taken until your body gets accustomed to it, then your doctor will slowly increase the dosage. Exelon is also available in patches to decrease the occurrence of GIT problems. You should also take it with food to prevent problems in the GIT. Loss of appetite resulting to weight loss, vomiting, muscle weakness, nausea, stomach pain, and dizziness are common side effects of Exelon.
This is the newest among the Alzheimer’s drugs that is prescribed for patients of moderate to severe AD. This drug retards the progression of AD including the behavioral signs and symptoms. The dosage is also gradual from low to high. Common side effects are constipation, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and confusion. This drug helps the patient continue the ability to use the bathroom on his or her own for months. This makes it easier for both the patient and the caregivers as well. Nameda is also know to regulate the production of glutamate and prevent it from being produced excessively.
In taking these Alzheimer’s drugs, careful monitoring should be done. These medications target the nervous system so any unusual side effects should be made known to the doctor. Careful instructions given by the doctor should be followed. You should always let the physician know about any accompanying herbal supplements or vitamins that the patient would want to take. You must not change the Alzheimer’s drugs in any way without telling the doctor. It is really a challenge for the patient, caregiver, loved ones and friends to deal with AD. Unending emotional and physical support should be constantly provided. Until now, there are still new Alzheimer’s drugs that are being tested by research scientists to help the patients more. Hopefully, these Alzheimer’s drugs will provide more solutions and less side effects for the patients.