Asian Hospital has a multidisciplinary team of experts that utilizes state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and manage Alzheimer’s disease.
Although some kinds of memory loss are normal parts of aging, such age-related memory loss is not severe enough to interfere with the level of function.
Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressive disease of the brain that results in impairments in memory and thinking, particularly in reasoning, planning, language, and perception. These impairments constitute a syndrome called dementia, which is severe enough to cause a decline in the patient’s normal level of functioning. Many diseases can cause dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases substantially after the age of 70 and may affect around half of persons over the age of 85. However, Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal or inevitable part of aging; many people live to over 100 years of age and never develop the disease.
The cause of most Alzheimer’s disease cases remains unknown. However, decades of research have turned up several hypotheses. The most widely discussed and researched hypothesis postulates that Alzheimer’s disease results from an increase in the production or accumulation of a specific protein (beta-amyloid) in the brain that leads to nerve cell death. As such, much of the research on how to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease has focused on ways to decrease the amount of this protein in the brain.
To a limited degree, genetics is also a factor. Certain genes increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but they do not always cause the disease. In the majority of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, no genetic risk factor has yet been found.
Neurologists, working with other specialists, usually make the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease based on patient history and clinical observations supplemented by observations from relatives. To rule out other diseases or conditions that can also cause dementia and other Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, the doctor may recommend advanced imaging tests such as computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) or positron emission tomography (PET).
Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed when a person has sufficient cognitive decline to meet the criteria for dementia; the progression of the patient’s condition is consistent with that of Alzheimer’s disease; and no other brain diseases or other processes provide a better explanation for the dementia.
Although a cure for Alzheimer’s disease has yet to be developed, some medications are now available to control disease symptoms. These medications help regulate chemicals between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain (neurotransmitters). Medications may help maintain cognitive skills and improve behavioral problems.
A multidisciplinary team of experts will work with the patient and his/her family to develop a treatment program tailored to the patient’s individual needs.
The Department of Neurosciences of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center has a multidisciplinary team of experts that utilizes state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and manage Alzheimer’s disease.
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