Treatment For Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
The drive home from the Neurologist appointment that day was filled with tears, confusion and encouragement. We had been given so much information at the doctor’s office that neither one of us could think straight at the moment. The one thing we were sure of was that we were going to be strong and do everything in our power as a family to make the best out of a bad situation. We were told by the doctor to set up an appointment with the hospital social worker who could assist us with coping skills and other various modalities in regards to Alzheimer’s disease. The first item on our agenda though was determining the best treatment option available that might pause or hopefully even reverse the damage already done. For starters, the doctor put my wife on 10mg Aricept, an oral medication that she would take once a day until her next appointment in five months. Aricept takes a while to build up in your system and is supposed to improve memory loss so we needed to have patience. If that didn’t work there were several other medications the doctor said he could try. The doctor also recommended that she take 1,000 IU’s of vitamin E every morning and evening. There are several other treatments for early-onset as listed on www.alz.org:
- · Medication for memory loss
- · Treatment for behavioral changes
- · Treatment for sleep changes
- · Alternative treatments
The treatments for early-onset include a great deal of trial and error and depends upon the individual and the progression of the disease.
Understanding Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
According to www.clevelandclinic.com, early-onset is a relatively rare form of Alzheimer’s disease in which individuals are diagnosed with the disease before age 65, usually in their 40s and 50s. Less than five percent of all Alzheimer’s disease patients have this type. Symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease are similar to those of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but the person often is still active with work, family and social activities when the symptoms begin. This describes our situation precisely. My wife still works full time and is a very active wife, mother, grandmother and friend who plans on staying that way as long as she can. We are eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise which has been shown to help with memory function and have been incorporating more activities that require thinking and reasoning skills into our daily lives. I would be lying through my teeth if I were to say that we weren’t scared about what lies ahead for us as a family, but there are a large number of helpful resources out there that offer many services to assist families like us. We are very lucky as the hospital my wife’s doctor is associated with offers top notch individual, group and staff counseling and support. If you find yourself in the situation we are in and need assistance, please try one of these organizations;
- 1. http://www.alzfdn.org
- 2. http://www.alz.org
Our journey as a family has only just begun and there are many obstacles which we have already faced and have yet to face, but having a plan of action in place helps to alleviate a little bit of the stress involved. Please be sure to look for my next article in which I discuss having a plan of action, personal experiences and coping skills.