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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Alzheimer's Disease

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses the 4 Causes of All Health Concerns. Most Medical Doctors will not look for any of these, since it would take away from prescribing medication if properly addressed.

Alzheimer's Disease is a degenerative disease due to nutritional deficiencies and excess toxicity.  To address that directly, you need a practitioner who specializes in this type of care.

Dr. Huntoon can support you to that end.

Alzheimer's disease

Senile dementia - Alzheimer's type (SDAT); SDAT

Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

You are more likely to get Alzheimer's disease (AD) if you:

Are older. However, developing AD is not a part of normal aging.

Have a close blood relative, such as a brother, sister, or parent with AD.

Have certain genes linked to AD, such as APOE epsilon4 allele

The following may also increase your risk, although this is not well proven:

Being female

Having high blood pressure for a long time

History of head trauma

There are two types of AD:

Early onset AD: Symptoms appear before age 60. This type is much less common than late onset. However, it tends to get worse quickly. Early onset disease can run in families. Several genes have been identified.

Late onset AD: This is the most common type. It occurs in people age 60 and older. It may run in some families, but the role of genes is less clear.

The cause of AD is not clear. Your genes and environmental factors seem to play a role. Aluminum, lead, and mercury deposits within the brain may be an underlying cause of AD.

Symptoms

Dementia symptoms include difficulty with many areas of mental function, including:

Emotional behavior or personality

Language

Memory

Perception

Thinking and judgment (cognitive skills)

Dementia usually first appears as forgetfulness.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging, and the development of AD. People with MCI have mild problems with thinking and memory that do not interfere with everyday activities. They are often aware of the forgetfulness. Not everyone with MCI develops AD.

Symptoms of MCI include:

Difficulty performing more than one task at a time

Difficulty solving problems

Forgetting recent events or conversations

Taking longer to perform more difficult activities

The early symptoms of AD can include:

Difficulty performing tasks that take some thought, but used to come easily, such as balancing a checkbook, playing complex games (such as bridge), and learning new information or routines

Getting lost on familiar routes

Language problems, such as trouble finding the name of familiar objects

Losing interest in things previously enjoyed, flat mood

Misplacing items

Personality changes and loss of social skills

As the AD becomes worse, symptoms are more obvious and interfere with your ability to take care of yourself.  Symptoms can include:

Change in sleep patterns, often waking up at night

Delusions, depression, agitation

Difficulty doing basic tasks, such as preparing meals, choosing proper clothing, and driving

Difficulty reading or writing

Forgetting details about current events

Forgetting events in your own life history, losing awareness of who you are

Hallucinations, arguments, striking out, and violent behavior

Poor judgment and loss of ability to recognize danger

Using the wrong word, mispronouncing words, speaking in confusing sentences

Withdrawing from social contact

People with severe AD can no longer:

Understand language

Recognize family members

Perform basic activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing

Other symptoms that may occur with AD:

Incontinence

Swallowing problems

Signs and tests

A skilled health care provider can often diagnose AD disease with the following steps:

Complete physical exam, including neurological exam

Asking questions about your medical history and symptoms

A mental status examination

A diagnosis of AD is made when certain symptoms are present, and by making sure other causes of dementia are not present.

Tests may be done to rule out other possible causes of dementia, including:

Anemia

Brain tumor

Chronic infection

Intoxication from medication

Severe depression

Stroke

Thyroid disease

Vitamin deficiency

Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain may be done to look for other causes of dementia, such as a brain tumor or stroke.

In the early stages of dementia, brain image scans may be normal. In later stages, an MRI may show a decrease in the size of different areas of the brain.

While the scans do not confirm the diagnosis of AD, they do exclude other causes of dementia (such as stroke and tumor).

However, the only way to know for certain that someone has AD is to examine a sample of their brain tissue after death. The following changes are more common in the brain tissue of people with AD:

"Neurofibrillary tangles" (twisted fragments of protein within nerve cells that clog up the cell)

"Neuritic plaques" (abnormal clusters of dead and dying nerve cells, other brain cells, and protein)

"Senile plaques" (areas where products of dying nerve cells have accumulated around protein).

Treatment

There is no cure for AD. The goals of treatment are:

Slow the progression of the disease (although this is difficult to do)

Manage symptoms, such as behavior problems, confusion, and sleep problems

Change your home environment so you can better perform daily activities

Support family members and other caregivers

The Alternative Perspective

NATURAL TREATMENT

Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who has a working knowledge of nutrition and neurology is prudent.  Understanding what is involved and working out a treatment plan based on realistic expectations and potential for results is important before beginning any treatment regime.  Using different Whole Food Supplements, Herbs and Homeopathic remedies specific for the needs of the individual is warranted when supporting the health and wellness of the individual.

Others have benefited from Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy when dealing with AD.

The Medical Perspective

DRUG TREATMENT

Medicines are used to help slow down the rate at which symptoms become worse. The benefit from these drugs is usually small. You and your family may not notice much of a change.

Before using these medicines, ask the doctor or nurse:

What are the potential side effects? Is the medicine worth the risk?

When is the best time, if any, to use these medicines?

Medicines for AD include:

Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Razadyne, formerly called Reminyl). Side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

Memantine (Namenda). Possible side effects include agitation or anxiety.

Other medicines may be needed to control aggressive, agitated, or dangerous behaviors. Examples include haloperidol, risperidone, and quetiapine. These are usually given in very low doses due to the risk of side effects including an increased risk of death.

It may be necessary to stop any medications that make confusion worse. Such medicines may include painkillers, cimetidine, central nervous system depressants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and others. Never change or stop taking any medicines without first talking to your doctor.

SUPPLEMENTS

Some people believe certain vitamins and herbs may help prevent or slowdown AD.

There is no strong evidence that Synthetic Folate (vitamin B6), synthetic vitamin B12, and synthetic vitamin E prevent AD or slows the disease once it occurs.  Using Whole Food Supplements can offer better results than using synthetic vitamins.

High-quality studies have not shown that ginkgo biloba lowers the chance of developing dementia. DO NOT use ginkgo if you take blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or a class of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

If you are considering any drugs or supplements, you should talk to your Holistic Chiropractor first. Remember that herbs and supplements available over the counter are NOT regulated by the FDA and are of questionable ingredients.

Support Groups

For additional information and resources for people with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers, see Alzheimer's disease support groups.

Expectations (prognosis)

How quickly AD gets worse is different for each person. If AD develops quickly, it is more likely to worsen quickly.  Actively working with your Holistic Chiropractor who can help monitor your health and adjust your program as things change is warranted.

Patients with AD often die earlier than normal, although a patient may live anywhere from 3 - 20 years after diagnosis.

The final phase of the disease may last from a few months to several years. During that time, the patient becomes totally disabled. Death usually occurs from an infection or organ failure.

Complications

Abuse by an over-stressed caregiver

Bedsores

Loss of muscle function that makes you unable to move your joints

Infection, such as urinary tract infection and pneumonia

Other complications related to immobility

Falls and broken bones

Harmful or violent behavior toward self or others

Loss of ability to function or care for self

Loss of ability to interact

Malnutrition and dehydration

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if someone close to you has symptoms of dementia.

Call your health care provider if a person with AD has sudden change in mental status. A rapid change may be a sign of another illness.

Talk to your health care provider if you are caring for a person with AD and you can no longer care for the person in your home.

Medicines Two Choices for You

Your Solution

Prevention

Although there is no proven way to prevent AD, there are some practices that may be worth incorporating into your daily routine, particularly if you have a family history of dementia. Talk to your doctor about any of these approaches, especially those that involve taking a medication or supplements.  Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who has a working knowledge of nutrition and neurology is the best place to start before moving to the more invasive medications.  Consider the following:

Consume a low processed fat diet.

Eat cold-water fish (like tuna, salmon, and mackerel) rich in omega-3 fatty acids, at least 2 to 3 times per week.

Reduce your intake of linoleic acid found in margarine, butter, and dairy products.

Increase antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamin E, and vitamin C by eating plenty of darkly colored fruits and vegetables.

Maintain a normal blood pressure.

Stay mentally and socially active throughout your life.

References

  1. Aisen PS, Schneider LS, Sano M, Diaz-Arrastia R, van Dyck CH, et al. High-dose B vitamin supplementation and cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2008;300:1774-1783.
  2. DeKosky ST, Kaufer DI, Hamilton RL, Wolk DA, Lopez OL. The dementias. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008:chap 70.
  3. DeKosky ST, Williamson JD, Fitzpatrick AL, Kronmal RA, Ives DG, Saxton JA, et al. Ginkgo biloba for prevention of dementia: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2008;300:2253-2262.
  4. Knopman DS. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 409.
  5. Mayeux R. Early Alzheimer's disease. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jun 10;362(4):2194-2201.
  6. Peterson RC. Clinical practice. Mild cognitive impairment. N Engl J Med 2011 Jun 9;364(23):2227-2234.
  7. Qaseem A, et al., American College of Physicians/American Academy of Family Physicians Panel on Dementia. Current pharmacologic treatment of dementia: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Ann Intern Med 2008 Mar 4;148(5):370-8.
  8. Querfurth HW, LaFerla FM. Alzheimer's disease. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jan 28;362(4):329-44.

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