In Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, your brain cells begin to degenerate, leading to a decrease in mental function and memory. Though there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, Dr. Christopher Sinclair, neurologist with Suffolk Brain and Nerve in Port Jefferson Station, New York, focuses on treatment strategies that reduce the severity of symptoms. To learn more, call the office or request an appointment online today.
Starting out as mild confusion and trouble remembering, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that causes the deterioration of brain cells, typically resulting in a decline in mental function and memory. After the initial phases, memory usually starts to worsen, particularly regarding short-term, recent memories. The rate of progression of memory loss varies among those with the disease.
Since mild memory loss is common with increasing age, the early signs of the disease may be hard to recognize. If you’re suffering from Alzheimer’s, you may or may not be aware that conditions are changing, even while those around you can recognize the symptoms. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, though medication and other strategies may slow or improve symptoms temporarily.
As the condition progresses, problems become increasingly complex, and what generally starts with memory issues spreads to other aspects of mental acuity.
People affected by Alzheimer’s progress beyond simple forgetfulness. Their behavior can include:
Response to typical everyday situations becomes more difficult. The ability to follow simple cause-and-effect logic erodes, such as not knowing how to proceed when the phone rings, for example.
There are many possibilities for changes in behavior and personality. Some people may experience a combination of several, while others have only a few. Common effects include:
Some medications can temporarily improve memory and cognitive performance. Some drugs supply chemicals that can help with cell function to replace the depleted natural neurotransmitters in the brain. Antidepressants are sometimes used to treat behavioral symptoms, though these must be used with caution, since they may aggravate other areas of mental performance aggravated by Alzheimer’s. The same holds true for anti-anxiety medications.
Providing a supportive environment is also important when caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Sinclair’s office can arrange referrals to mental health support groups to assist your efforts.