Alzheimer’s Disease Is Much More Than Symptoms of Dementia
How much do you know about Alzheimer’s Disease? There are some common misconceptions about the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and many people believe (unless they have known someone with the condition) that the only side-effect of the illness is loss of memory and dementia.
The truth is that Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative and progressive neurological disease that impacts every part of the body. Over time, the brain and central nervous system lose the ability to message and function properly, leading to disabling side-effects and premature death from health complications.
In this article we’ll discuss the link between dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, with a focus on the associated health impairments and risks. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, there are many promising clinical and nutritional approaches that have been effective at slowing the degenerative process down. And one of those therapeutic approaches involves glutathione, and dietary and supplemental antioxidants.
Understanding Dementia and Associated Clinical Diagnoses
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia, prevalent in up to 70% of all documented cases. It is because of this statistical link that many of the misconceptions and lack of understanding about other health impairments of Alzheimer’s Disease persist.
The loss of memory and dementia has a more disruptive impact than simply ‘forgetting’ certain people, places or things and while it is most strongly associated with individuals over the age of 70 years, early onset of dementia can start in the late 50’s and early 60’s.
Blood tests, brain imaging and evaluation and recall and memory functioning tests are all used to determine a diagnosis of dementia. Other diagnoses including Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob are also common causes of dementia.
Individuals with dementia can feel very confused, and experience anxiety, depression and even irritability and aggression as a result of the frustration they experience with memory recall. That can include forgetting:
- Geographic locations and places that were once familiar
- The location of items in their possession, or in the home
- Passwords and pin numbers required for financial transactions
- Names and the relationship history of loved ones and friends
- Simple activities of daily living, including grooming, cooking or driving a vehicle
There are some prescription medications to help with symptoms of dementia (predominantly for mood regulation and the treatment of anxiety and depression), but there is no cure. And the symptoms are progressive over time.
The Progressive Nature of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease occurs when abnormal proteins begin to collect inside the cells of the brain.
The first stage of the degenerative and progressive disease involves mild impairment that are first noted through changes in behavior, before becoming diagnosed by a physician. Individuals with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease begin to show signs of dementia, such as forgetfulness and difficulty with articulating thoughts or following and participating in conversations.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease some changes in motor functioning may start to occur, increasing the risk of trip and fall injuries.
The second stage of Alzheimer’s Disease is marked by a more noticeable impairment of both cognitive functioning and motor skills. For people in the second phase of the disease, the ability to conduct independent activities of daily living starts to decrease, and they may require part-time supervision, or in-home medical care and assistance for dressing, shopping, bathing and grooming.
During the second stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, the messaging from the brain through the central nervous system becomes significantly impaired, and that can include hunger triggers, digestive functioning, breathing irregularities and issues with major organs. The symptoms of dementia become more severe in stage two, and the resulting confusion and frustration with loss of cognitive and physical functioning can result in irritability and mood variances.
In the last and advanced stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, patients generally lose the ability to communicate verbally and live independently, and many require 24-hour long-term care in a medical facility. Weight loss from reduced digestive functioning, respiration and cardiovascular conditions present themselves, and the immune system (which relies on central nervous system relay messaging) is also compromised, resulting in a higher rate of bacterial and viral infections.
While the disease does not directly cause death, individuals with Alzheimer’s can succumb more easily to conditions like organ failure, or difficulties with digestion and breathing. In long-term care facilities the most common cause of death for Alzheimer’s patients is pneumonia or bacterial and viral respiratory infections, as the ability to swallow or clear fluids or phlegm from the lungs becomes impaired due to lack of muscle control. Heart disease and kidney failure are also common.
The Benefit of Antioxidants in Clinical Studies with Alzheimer’s Patients
From first diagnosis the average life span for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is six to eight years. In recent clinical studies however, researchers have suggested that cellular oxidative stress is one of the contributing factors that accelerates the degenerative aspects of symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
In these studies, clinicians have suggested that the decreased levels of GSH (glutathione) in the brain can be clinically addressed to help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, by supplementing and increasing antioxidant levels.
Here are some recent clinical studies that linked glutathione and antioxidants to therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer’s patients:
While each study we reviewed calls for more intensive research, the benefits provided for Alzheimer’s patients appear valuable. Slowing the progression of the disease by helping the brain to continue extended nervous system messaging, may improve the quality of life for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as a natural therapy to reduce the speed of progression from the disease.
And that could mean a higher quality of life, and longer duration of independent self-care and more time with family. Dr. Robert Keller was a passionate educator about the link between antioxidants and cognitive decline. He believed that increasing glutathione levels by stimulating the body’s ability to produce the antioxidant internally, provided numerous and measurable health benefits.
Talk to your doctor about using Dr. Robert Keller’s Original Glutathione Formula daily.