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, Sabri Malek, MD, FIPP, focuses on treatment strategies that reduce the severity of symptoms at Hospice and Palliative Care of California. To learn more, call the office in Pasadena, California, or request an appointment online today.
Alzheimer’s Disease Q&A
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
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.
How does Alzheimer’s affect brain function?
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:
- Asking questions or making statements repeatedly, without being aware of the repetition
- Misplacing common objects or placing them in irrational locations, such as house keys in the refrigerator
- Becoming lost in familiar locations
- Forgetting names of common objects and family members
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.
Changes in personality
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:
- Mood swings
- Distrust and delusions
- Sleep pattern disruptions
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to the team at Hospice and Palliative Care of California to get started on treatment.
How is Alzheimer’s treated?
Hospice and Palliative Care of California specializes in providing supportive care for Alzheimer’s patients.
Your provider at Hospice and Palliative Care of California may suggest some medications to 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.
The team at Hospice and Palliative Care of California may also recommend antidepressants 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. The team at Hospice and Palliative Care of California can arrange referrals to mental health support groups to assist your efforts.
If you or someone you know has Alzheimer’s, contact the team at Hospice and Palliative Care of California. You can call the office or book an appointment online.