Alzheimers

“If you are not ready to alter your way of life, you cannot begin to heal.” – Hippocrates (460-377 B.C). You will find here information, articles and books addressing the positive holistic approach to Alzheimers.

Alzheimers Disease

A Positive Holistic Approach

Few diseases scare us as much as Alzheimer’s does. Alzheimer’s disease robs the victim of memory and thinking, and the sense of self, leaving behind a shell of a body. The world is poised on the brink of an epidemic of Alzheimer’s as many countries face an aging population.

Alzheimer’s is a very serious brain disease that attacks the parts of the brain responsible for the creation of memory and for thinking.

As the disease progresses, more and more parts of the brain become affected. The patient loses the ability to live independently, and the sense of self and identity disappears. Eventually the patient dies.

Alzheimer’s is not the only disease that causes dementia, but it is probably the best known to the general public.

When Alzheimer’s strikes someone, we watch as the person afflicted slowly fades away in front of us, and eventually disappears to a place where they can’t be reached.

We may personally know people, who have been afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease. We may have visited a nursing home where many of the elderly residents sat staring blankly and unaware. We shuddered inwardly, thinking, “I hope that never happens to me.”

Part of the reason we fear this disease so much is because it is so mysterious. We don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s. We don’t know how to cure it. We don’t even have a sure fire test to diagnose Alzheimer’s while the victim is still alive.

The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease tends to get higher as the population ages. In the age group 65-75, approximately four per cent of the population may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In the age group of 85 years or older, about 50% of the population has Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing problem all over the world because the population in most countries is growing older and older on average. In many countries, more and more people are surviving to the age where the incidence of the disease becomes more common.

At the present time, up to four million North Americans are believed to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease. In twenty years, that number may go up to ten million. India has the some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world, but scientists don’t know why the rate of the disease in India is so low.

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who studied and described this disease in Germany in the early years of the twentieth century. Dr. Alzheimer was the first to discover and analyze the massive destruction of brain cells in a middle-aged woman who had been stricken with dementia and eventually died from it.

When Dr. Alzheimer studied this woman’s brain after she died, he noticed that her brain was filled with microscopic plaques and tangles. These plaques and tangles had killed her brain cells.

The disease starts out with small lapses in the ability to make and retrieve short-term memories. With this comes a decline in the ability to reason and the ability to concentrate. The person affected may forget the names of familiar objects, or get lost in a familiar place. Personality changes may become apparent.

This decline in mental processing happens because of the destruction of brain cells that are needed to form and retrieve memories. At the same time, there is a progressive decline in the brain’s supply of neurotransmitters required to carry messages from one brain cell to another.

In the initial stages, it is very hard to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from other types of memory loss.

As the disease progresses, more and more brain cells die. Memory test scores may decline by 10 to 15% each year. Eventually, the patient will have difficulty performing the simplest actions required for daily living. The vocabulary dwindles to a few dozen words, and then disappears altogether. Friends and family will not be recognized. The “self” fades away.

In the final stages, the patient will be completely unable to look after herself, unable to feed, walk or control the bladder and bowel. Death often occurs from pneumonia or infection.

Alzheimer’s may strike people in their twenties, but is very rare in that age group. It becomes increasingly common with advanced aging. As women tend to live longer than men by several years, they are more likely to live long enough to be afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

From the initial diagnosis to the time of death may be a period of seven to twenty years. The toll of the disease on the family and on society is very high.

Unless a cure is found soon, the costs of institutionalizing those millions who will fall victim to Alzheimer’s in the coming decades will consume many billions of dollars.

The toll on the families of those afflicted is very high. For the person who is afflicted with this disease, the loss of memory, of thinking ability, of the personal sense of self is the greatest tragedy of all.

What is the cause of Alzheimer’s disease? Is the cause genetic? Is it environmental? Is Alzheimer’s caused by a virus? Does Alzheimer’s have only one cause, or are there many contributing factors? Will a cure for Alzheimer’s be discovered?

These are questions that scientists are racing to answer.

This article, Alzheimer’s Disease – The Coming Epidemic, was written by Royane Real, author of “How You Can Be Smarter – Use Your Brain to Learn Faster, Remember Better and Be More Creative”

If you want to learn about how to look after your brain and get better performance out of it, download it today at www.royanreal.com

Recommended book

 

Anecdotes from the words of Diagnosed ALZ people, July 17, 2002

Being recently diagnosed with CRS, see my review of Shenk's "The Forgetting," I want to know from others who have been there, what is ahead of me. I am a member of two ALZ support groups, one mixed, and one for ALZers by themselves. Recently at a social party where I was experiencing data overload, I confided to a woman of my own age, that I was diagnosed with ALZ. She immediately said she was also, and we immediately began comparing symptoms, just as other ALZers do when their caregivers are not around!

This book fulfils my needs for the stories from those who are there. No story fits me exactly, yet parts of each show me that I am not unique, that I need not fit the popular mold, e.g. "Iris," of where and who I am. Just as the 42 stories at the rear of "Alcoholics Anonymous" give understanding and light to those afflicted with another incurable pathology, so do these bring hope and understanding to me: "I Am Not Alone!"

There is an abundance of tomes dealing with the diagnosis and care of ALZers. Those few books which let one ALZ speak to another ALZ are far between. ["Living in the Labyrinth" by McGowan is another in this small select company.]If you, a friend, or a relative has ever been given a tentative or conclusive diagnosis of ALZ, run, don't walk, to get a copy of "Speaking Our Minds" to them. If like me, their reading capabilities have substantially deteriorated, please, please read it to them!


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