Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer Disease Alzheimer disease (AD), also known simply as Alzheimer’s, is a neurodegenerative disease. Characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration, together with declining activities of daily living and by neuropsychiatry symptoms or behavioural changes, it is the most common type of dementia.

Stages and Symptoms

  • Mild — At the early stage of the disease, patients have a tendency to become less energetic or spontaneous, though changes in their behaviour often go unnoticed even by the patients’ immediate family. This stage of the disease has also been termed Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) although this term remains somewhat controversial.
  • Moderate — As the disease progresses to the middle stage, the patient might still be able to perform tasks independently, but may need assistance with more complicated activities.
  • Severe — As the disease progresses from the middle to late stage, the patient will undoubtedly not be able to perform even the simplest of tasks on their own and will need constant supervision. They become incontinent of bladder and then incontinent of bowel. They will eventually lose the ability to walk and eat without assistance. Language becomes severely disorganized, and then is lost altogether. They may eventually lose the ability to swallow food and fluid and this can ultimately lead to death.

Risk factors

  • Advancing age
  • ApoE epsilon 4 genotype (in some populations)
  • Head injury
  • Poor cardiovascular health (including smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and strokes)

Incidence of Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer disease is the most frequent type of dementia in the elderly and affects almost half of all patients with dementia. Correspondingly, advancing age is the primary risk factor for Alzheimer. Among people aged 65, 2-3% show signs of the disease, while 25–50% of people aged 85 have symptoms of Alzheimer and an even greater number have some of the pathological hallmarks of the disease without the characteristic symptoms. Every five years after the age of 65, the probability of having the disease doubles.
Ageing itself cannot be prevented, but the senescence of it can be mitigated. However, the evidence relating certain behaviours, dietary intakes, environmental exposures, and diseases to the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s varies in quality and its acceptance by the medical community. Some proposed preventive measures are even based on studies conducted solely in animals or in cell cultures but are not listed here.

The risk reducers are:

    • Intellectual stimulation (e.g., playing chess or doing crosswords)
    • Regular physical exercise
    • Regular social interaction
    • A Mediterranean diet with fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat, supplemented in particular with:
  • B vitamins
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fruit and vegetable juice
  • High doses of the antioxidant Vitamin E (in combination with vitamin C) seem to reduce Alzheimer’s risk in cross sectional studies but not in a randomized trial and so are not currently a recommended preventive measure because of observed increases in overall mortality
  • The moderate consumption of alcohol (beer, wine or distilled spirits)
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) reduce Alzheimer’s risk in observational studies but so far not in randomized controlled trials
  • Female Hormone replacement therapy is no longer thought to prevent dementia based on data from the Women’s Health Initiative
  • Long-term usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), used to reduce joint inflammation and pain, are associated with a reduced likelihood of developing AD, according to some observational studies. The risks appear to outweigh the drugs’ benefit as a method of primary prevention.