Alzheimer's Patient with NurseAt this point and time there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s. This should not cause panic for those with Alzheimer’s, however, as there are things you can do to control it. The best thing for a cure is to prevent Alzheimer’s from developing in the first place.

Many things are rumored to be a cause of Alzheimer’s, so if you can keep those things to a minimum you will probably have fewer chances of getting it. If you do have Alzheimer’s, there are many ways to help treat the symptoms. Sometimes prescription medications are used to help control Alzheimer’s, while alternative therapies are used at other times.

What causes Alzheimer’s?

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, there are no known specific causes of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are some triggers that have been shown to lead to Alzheimer’s in certain individuals.

Age is a big risk factor, as most people with Alzheimer’s tend to be over the age of 60. Free radical oxidative damage to neurons has been shown to be a risk factor, as is genetic makeup, brain inflammation, serious head injuries, and environmental factors.

What are some of the medications used to treat Alzheimer’s?

While there are some medications that are used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, they do not cure it nor do they stop the damage. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are two types of approved medications for the cognitive symptoms that accompany Alzheimer’s. They fall under the categories of memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors.

Cholinesterase inhibitors are most often used in early and moderate stages of Alzheimer’s and help symptoms related to thinking, memory, judgment, language, and additional thought processes.

Memantine is used for the moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s and helps improve attention, memory, language, reason, and simple task ability. Some doctors decide to prescribe both types of medications at the same time for the biggest benefit.

Are there alternative therapies for Alzheimer’s?

Many individuals with Alzheimer’s may choose not to take drugs for their symptoms, especially if they don’t do anything to actually fix the problem. Fortunately, there are some other alternative therapies and supplements that may help the symptoms, without the accompanying side effects that medications have.

Certain vitamins are prescribed by some doctors, such as high level doses of vitamin E, which can help combat the cognitive changes that occur. Coconut oil and caprylic acid are theorized to be alternative sources of brain energy, as individuals with Alzheimer’s tend to have reduced glucose use, which is the main brain energy source.

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that is sometimes recommended for people with Alzheimer’s, and it helps combat oxidative damage to the brain cells. Ginkgo biloba has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help with cognitive symptoms.

Huperzine A is an extract from moss and it performs similarly to the cholinesterase inhibitors that are prescribed for Alzheimer’s. High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are often advised for individuals with Alzheimer’s, as they may help reduce cognitive decline.

The Alzheimer’s Association warns that these alternative treatments have their own dangers associated with them. Some research has not shown them to be effective and the doses are unknown. They also can cause bad reactions with other medications, so talk with your doctor if you are taking medications and are considering alternative treatments.

Many of the other treatments for Alzheimer’s deal with behavioral issues. Behavioral management interventions, counseling, and education are used in many Alzheimer’s cases.

What are some things you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s?

Much research is being done to see if Alzheimer’s can be prevented, and the results are promising. In general, staying physically and mentally healthy seems to be the best way to fight the development of Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 80% of people with Alzheimer’s have cardiovascular disease as well. Doing what you can to prevent heart disease, by eating right and exercising, should also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Eating whole, non-processed foods, with an emphasis on vegetables and fruits high in anti-oxidants will help ward off Alzheimer’s. Healthy fats are good as well to keep your neurological connections healthy and normal.

The American Council on Exercise reports that exercise may help prevent Alzheimer’s. The research showed that the subjects who had higher levels of activity between 20 and 59 years of age had fewer incidents of Alzheimer’s.

ACE also reported that people who had higher education levels and worked in occupations that were intellectually demanding had reduced risk for getting Alzheimer’s. People who were more socially active and maintained strong social connections also were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. In retirement, stay active and continue to use your brain, whether it is working on crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or other intellectual stimulators.

As serious head trauma is a well-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, doing your best to prevent this from happening will help keep Alzheimer’s away. If you play sports that involved contact wear a helmet. Always were your seatbelt while in a vehicle, and do what you can to prevent falls in your home.

An estimated 5.1 million Americans have symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Because there is not yet a cure, your best bet is to do whatever you can to prevent it. If you or someone you know develops it, there are medications and therapies that you can use to reduce its symptoms.