Alzheimer’s disease is a dementing illness characterized histologicaly by neuritic plaques and tangles, accompanied by neuronal cell loss. Alzheimer’s disease involves a progressive deterioration of intellect, memory personality, and self care, leading to severe degeneration of nerve cells. Other conditions should be ruled out before choosing Alzheimer’s as a diagnosis; medical evaluation is important. Early stages of Alzheimer’s disease manifest with short term memory loss; problem finding the appropriate word; asking the same question over and over; difficulty making decisions and planning ahead; suspiciousness; changes in senses of smell and taste; and problem with abstract thinking.
A lifetime depression may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Depression should be considered a risk factor for this disease. Alzheimer’s disease is similar to mood disorders, with onset from the sixth to seventh decades. Mood instability and increased distractibility, irritability, agitation, and irregular sleep can be present. Behavioral changes, such as aggressive behavior, psychosis , and over activity occur frequently and often determine the need for institutionalization.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease may have dysfunctional mechanism of body weight regulation or changes in their brain that that lead to weight loss.
Cause of Alzheimer’s disease
Age – often after 60-65 the incidence approximately double for every 5 year increase in age; at least until age 90 years. The incidence is similar in men and women but the prevalence is greater in women, reflecting their longevity.
Genetics – the risk is about three fold greater in the first degree relatives of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Clinical features of Alzheimer’s disease
Cognitive symptoms– memory loss is the most common, and usually the presenting complain- patient have difficulty learning and retaining new information. Later in the disease, remote memories are also affected.
Non cognitive symptoms
- Delusion of theft
- Infidelity and abandonment
- Disorders of perception like auditory, visual, and other hallucinations
- Depressive symptoms
- Hyper sexuality
- Hyper morality
Diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease
Probable Alzheimer’s disease
- Dementia established by clinical examination and documented by mini-mental state examination or other standard screening test.
- Deficits in two or more areas of cognition
- Progressive worsening of memory and other cognitive functions
- No disturbance of consciousness
- Onset at 40-90 years
- Absence of systemic disorders or other brain diseases that could account for the progressive deficit memory and cognition
Possible Alzheimer’s disease
- Onset, presentation or clinical course different from the above, but patient has no other disorder sufficient to cause dementia
- Patient has a systemic or brain disorder sufficient to produce dementia, but this is not considered to be the cause of dementation.
Recognition of Alzheimer’s disease
- Loss of memory
- The person might forget what he/she was doing 5 minutes ago and repeat the same thing several times.
- Forgetting words while communicating or finding difficulty in naming objects such as flower or a dog
- Difficulty in carrying out daily activities such as dressing, cooking and washing, how to use a knife, open the door, etc.
- Inability to carry out movements despite muscle power and coordination, e.g. Tying shoe laces, turning a tap on, fastening buttons or switching on a T.V
- Difficulty in speaking and understanding spoken language which is difficult for others to understand
- Inability to recognize people.
- Using a fork instead of a spoon and a knife instead of a pencil.
- Personality change. Aggressive and ill-mannered behavior.
- Frequent mood changes
- Wandering during day and night, inability to identify time and space.
- Physical change. Weight loss can occur as a result of the person forgetting the chew or swallow.
Homeopathic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat Alzheimer’s disease but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for Alzheimer’s disease treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensation and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important remedies are given below for Alzheimer’s disease treatment:
- Nux Vom – disposition to find fault with everything and every body; extreme sensitiveness to the words and attention of others, inclination to kill his best friends; wants to commit suicide but is too cowardly to do so; very irritable, quarrelsome, vindictive.
- Mercurius – complete loss of all sense of decency; filthy in body with groveling mentality; great weakness of memory; impaired vision; foul breath; heavy coated tongue.
- Ignatia – extreme mental sensitiveness due to grief, disappointment in love affairs.
- Calcaria Carb – complete lack of development of brain and other organs with forgetfulness. Slowness and inability to acquire knowledge.
- Lycopodium – great depression of spirits; despondent; worried about his salvation; about being able to perform his duties; about passing in examination, fretful, irritable, morose, very vehement and angry. Constipation, eructations of sour food.
- Staphisagria – sleeplessness. Coward with shamefulness, disgust, humiliation, despair, shyness with desire for solitude.
- Chamomilla – sensitiveness; irritability, peevishness; very easily angered and suffers profoundly as a result thereof.
- Terentula His – rages over something and throws whatever in hand and whatever he could reach. On slightest contradiction or objection he will hit the person with whatever he can get hold of.
Allopathic treatment for Alzheimer’s disease – mainly include antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs.
Other natural and alternative methods – mainly include zinkgo biloba, AyurvedIc medications , yoga, folate, olive oil, vitamin D, avoidance of alcohol, low calorie diet etc.