Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a degenerative disease of the brain cells (neurons). It is the ailment of the aged. AD usually starts around the 7th decade of life, progresses with age and becomes more aggressive. It is also more common in women. The cause of AD is unknown, and its mechanism is not well understood, but treatment modalities and prevention have shown to be effective.
Alzheimer’s disease manifests as a memory problem that initially affects the recollection of recent events. Simple occurrences like conversations, newly met acquaintances, words and numbers are forgotten earlier. But it progresses to involve larger part of the brain, and eventually affects cognitive skills, language and the patient’s general mental status. Psychiatric manifestations are also not uncommon.
Family physicians are usually the first healthcare providers to assess and address the patient’s symptoms. The affected individual may not realize that they have a deficit. Therefore the family and friends of suspect patients should notify the family physician as soon as symptoms are noted.
Diagnostics such as imaging is occasionally used for confirmation, and medical treatment via pharmaceuticals is commonly used, as well as Osteopathic Craniosacral manipulation, but as to date there is no definitive cure. However, the prevention of AD through exercising the “brain muscle” has shown to delay the onset and progression of the disease. It is generally thought that presenting the brain with complex problems promotes new neuron connections (synapses), and helps maintain and “dust off” previously made synapses.