Where did it come from, anyhow, this “Alzheimer’s” that has suddenly invaded our consciousness? Part 3

We still don’t know everything about Alzheimer’s, but researchers are unflagging in their attempts to treat and cure it.  Here’s something to remember:  No single test can tell you if it is or isn't Alzheimer's disease.

To rule out other possible causes of symptoms during the evaluation, the doctor or health care professional may:

  • Conduct a complete physical exam.
  • Take urine or blood samples, or both.
  • Carry out memory and psychological tests to see how well the brain is working.
  • Order a brain scan, such as a computerized tomography scan.

All of the prescription medications currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms in early to moderate stages are from a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase inhibitors are prescribed to treat symptoms related to memory, thinking, language, judgment and other thought processes.

Three cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly prescribed:

  • Donepezil (Aricept) is approved to treat all stages of Alzheimer's.
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon) is approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's.
  • Galantamine (Razadyne) is approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

A second type of medication, memantine (Namenda) is approved by the FDA for treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. Memantine is prescribed to improve memory, attention, reason, language and the ability to perform simple tasks. It can be used alone or with other Alzheimer’s disease treatments.

So, the wisest thing to do is to see your doctor. Early Alzheimer's diagnosis provides several benefits :

  • It could mean earlier access to medical professionals and Alzheimer's treatment options.
  • It lets those with Alzheimer's make plans regarding their care and finances ahead of time, so that their wishes can be carried out when they're no longer able to make such decisions for themselves.
  • It helps Alzheimer's patients and caregivers get counseling to address safety issues related to later stages of Alzheimer's ahead of time, helping to prevent unnecessary stress.
  • It gives more time to develop a routine around a loved one's medication.
  • It might reveal a form of dementia not attributable to Alzheimer's with a potentially reversible cause, such as depression or a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

You can rest assured that when therapies are developed to help treat Alzheimer’s, Blue Sky Therapy will be on the front lines to provide them!