Treatment for Alzheimer's disease

10 best treatment for Alzheimer’s disease: Medicines and Dietary plans

Alzheimer’s disease currently has no absolute treatment to cure this everlasting disease, however, a couple of medicines, certain therapies and some dietary considerations can aid the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Introduction to Alzheimer’s Disease and Its Impact

Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, poses a significant challenge for patients and their families, often leading to cognitive decline and memory loss. About 1 out of 9 people between the ages of 55 to 75 have this disorder. As the most common cause of dementia, it severely impacts the lives of Alzheimer’s patients, which needs complete treatment and therapeutic interventions.

Drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease

One method to reduce or manage Alzheimer’s symptoms such as memory loss, issues with thinking and reasoning, and daily functioning by on-the-counter available pharmacological medicines. Multiple drugs have received FDA approval especially to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. These can slow the progression of the disease, and improve the overall quality of life for patients even though they cannot treat the illness. But one thing to remember is that medications don’t work for everyone, and they may lose effectiveness over time. They tend to be most effective for people with early to moderate Alzheimer’s.

Cholinesterase inhibitors

These drugs help to boost the levels of cell-to-cell communication. Alzheimer’s brain has a depletion of chemical messengers (acetylcholine) which is required in cell-to-cell communication. So, these Cholinesterase inhibitors contain a chemical that prevents the breakdown of this messenger and thus can boost communication.

The medicines are available in different brands. Commonly prescribed drugs in this class are

  • Donepezil (Aricept, Adlarity)- 1 pill per day
  • Galantamine (Razadyne) – 1or 2 pills per day
  • Rivastigmine transdermal patch (Exelon).

Donepezil and Galantamine are taken orally and Rivastigmine is delivered through a patch on the skin.

Usually, these medicines are prescribed at first after diagnosis, and primary symptoms of Alzheimer’s have been seen to improve in most patients. The improvements can be observed in behavior such as nervousness or depression. Additionally, improvements in memory and attention can be noticed.

However, in the starting phase of taking medicine, some side effects may arise, per se diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite and sleep disturbance. Even, irregular heartbeat may be observed in people with certain heart disorders. Doctors suggest these medications with food to minimize side effects.

Memantine (Namenda)

This FDA-approved drug is also used for Alzheimer’s patients. This drug is available in both forms as a pill or syrup. However, this drug is prescribed to only those patients with phase 2 to phase 4 (moderate to severe). Unlike Cholinesterase inhibitors, this drug helps a different brain cell-cell communication network. Although it can’t prevent the progression and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, it slows down the overall disease progression. Sometimes, this drug is prescribed in combination with drugs from cholinesterase inhibitors classes for a better effect as side effects are rarely observed after taking Memantine.

Aducanumab (Aduhelm)

Aducanumab is an approved intravenous infusion therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. It is prescribed to only those patients with mild cognitive dementia (MCI) or very early-stage dementia. This drug contains a monoclonal antibody which helps to clear the β-amyloid plaques (protein aggregates), which is the pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Patients taking this therapy show improvement in daily functioning, recalling and memory although there is a lack of consistency.

Lecanemab (Leqembi)

Lecanemab under the brand name of Leqembi recently got approved to treat early-stage or MCI Alzheimer’s patients. This is also an intravenous infusion therapy and contains monoclonal antibodies like Aducanumab. It helps in removing soluble β-amyloid plaques from the brain, thus can slow down the rate of disease progression. Some of the side effects include fever, flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, changes in heart rate and shortness of breath.

Alternative of medicines: Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

The earlier and easier way to keep the brain healthy is to pay attention to the brain’s nutritional health. Herbal mixtures, vitamins and other food supplements are usually encouraged for cognitive health or to avoid or delay Alzheimer’s. Some of these are foods and supplements for the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease:

Home Remedies

Foods for Alzheimer's disease

Healthy foods for Alzheimer’s

Animal sourceVegetablesFruits
EggFresh turmericOrange
Hilsa fishSpinachAlmonds
Tuna fishBroccoliAvocado
Salmon fishVegetable oilWalnut
CatfishRed pepperSoybean
PrawnBrussels sproutBanana

Food supplements

There are items which can be taken as pills such as vitamins, or any specific supplement, not enough are available in your current diet.

Vitamin E

Actually, vitamin E does not prevent Alzheimer’s directly, but having vitamin E-enriched vegetables or taking 2000 international units per day helps in delaying dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Another important food supplement for Alzheimer’s is Omega-3 fatty acids. The most prominent source of Omega-3 fatty acids are fishes. Although, anyone can also take it as a food supplement. The effect of Omega-3 fatty acid is not well established in Alzheimer’s; however, it is very helpful in dementia conditions.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the chemical substance which gives the yellow colour in turmeric. Curcumin has well-proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that keep our brain cells healthy and fight against neurodegeneration.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone, produced by our brain in response to darkness. This hormone regulates the circadian rhythm in our body, hence essential in maintaining sleep. Higher levels of melatonin are available in eggs and fish and also available as melatonin pills (Melatonex). However, some patients with dementia have reported that melatonin may worsen mood.

Exercise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

Regular exercise is also a significant part of a treatment plan. Everyday walking, swimming, or bicycling can help in improving mood and maintain the health of our body, joints, muscles and even heart. Interestingly, these exercises help in getting a good sleep and offer good mental health and thus can be a potential as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. However, the patients who are unable to do these exercises can have a stationary bike, stretch with elastic bands or participate in chair exercises.

Nutritional plan

The main problem with Alzheimer’s patients is that they forget their daily needs even eating and drinking. Some of the patients will face a loss of appetite in the later stages. For them, having healthy items at the right time is very necessary. We recommend offering water and other healthy beverages with high calories every time. Try to avoid caffeine products as these can disrupt the sleep rhythms.

Summary

The stages of Alzheimer’s are not exact, these are determined by some scales and questionnaires. Hence, the diagnosis may differ slightly from doctor to doctor. Accordingly, the response to the drugs will also vary from time to time and person to person. As only a few drugs are available for Alzheimer’s, it is recommended to understand the drug, its benefits and side effects carefully. If you are taking medicines for Alzheimer’s, you should also know when to stop the medicines, as these medicines will lose effectiveness after a certain time. Healthy food and supplements may slow the process of developing MCI or Alzheimer’s.

So, Take care and Stay healthy.

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  1. Pingback: 4 important stages of Alzheimer's Disease: Development and associated symptoms - Doc Health Hub

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