PT Weekly: Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills and eventually will affect the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although, the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and most people with Alzheimer’s are 60 – 65 years and older. Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.

Also, current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, it can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information. Just like every other cell in the body, the brain cells change as we age. Most of us eventually notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign that brain cells are failing.

As the defect advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including;
1. Dissorientation,
2. Mood and behavior changes
3. Deepening confusion about events, time and place
4. Unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers
5. Serious memory loss and behavioral changes
6. Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
7. Poor sleeping habit
8. Occasional loss of appetite
9. Hallucinations

Alzheimer’s disease does not directly but in directly causes pain as a secondary effect of most of the complications (Falls, accidents and injuries) that may arise from the progressive damage to the brain.

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease

The cause of this disease is poorly understood. There are no clear-cut cause or causes of Alzheimer’s, but there are several risk factors that has been documented to predispose one to having alzheimer’s disease.

1 Age: The risk for Alzheimer’s goes up as one get older. For most people, it starts going up after age 65
2. Gender: Its more common in women than in men
3. Family history
4. Down’s syndrome
5. Head injury
6. High cholesterol
7. Parkinson’s disease
8. Multiple sclerosis

Physiotherapy in Alzheimer’s Disease management

Several studies have shown that exercise is beneficial for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Along with cardiovascular fitness, increased endurance, and improved strength, people with Alzheimer’s disease get added benefits from exercising.

Some of these benefits of regular exercises in people with Alzheimer’s disease include but not limited to;
1. Maintenance of motor skills
2. Decreased falls
3. Reduced rate of disease associated with mental decline.
4. Improved behavior and mood
4. Improved memory and better communication skills

Physical therapy plays an important role in exercises for patients with Alzheimer’s disease by tailoring routines to meet the individual needs of each patient.

1. Balance and coordination training
2. Strengthening exercises
3. Flexibility program

The above and alot more can be done to give a better quality of life to anyone living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Come in at PCA for further information and individualized treatment program.

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