Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, finally becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. The common symptoms include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble understanding language, and long-term memory loss. Due to the severity of the disease the sufferer often withdraw from family and society. Since the disease is different for each individual, predicting how it will affect the person is difficult.

AD first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. Over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members or have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them. AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.


The goals of treatment is to slow down the progression of the disease, manage symptoms, such as behavior problems, confusion, and sleep problems. Further changing the home environment help them perform daily activities better.

Medicines for AD include:

  • Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine - Possible side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
  • Memantine - Possible side effects include agitation or anxiety.
  • Other medicines may be needed to control aggressive, agitated, or dangerous behaviors.