Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events. As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, self-neglect, and behavioral issues. As of 2020, there were approximately 50 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s disease. It most often begins in people over 65 years of age, although up to 10% of cases are early-onset affecting those in their 30s to mid-60s. Alzheimer’s financial burden on society is large, with an estimated global annual cost of US$1 trillion. Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that affects the brain. It is named after Alois Alzheimer, a German physician who first described the condition in 1906. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, a syndrome characterized by a decline in memory, thinking, and behavior that interferes with daily functioning.
Alzheimer’s disease Risk factors
Alzheimer’s disease Symptoms
Familial and Nonfamilial Alzheimer’s disease
Familial Alzheimer’s disease is an inherited and uncommon form of Alzheimer’s disease. FAD usually implies multiple persons affected in one or more generations. Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (or Nonfamilial Alzheimer’s disease) describes all other cases, where genetic risk factors are minor or unclear.
Alzheimer’s disease Causes
Alzheimer’s disease Diagnosis
Alzheimer’s disease prevention
Alzheimer’s disease Medication
Cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking, are associated with a higher risk of onset and worsened course of AD. The use of statins to lower cholesterol may be of benefit in Alzheimer’s. Antihypertensive and antidiabetic medications in individuals without overt cognitive impairment may decrease the risk of dementia by influencing cerebrovascular pathology. More research is needed to examine the relationship with Alzheimer’s disease specifically; clarification of the direct role medications play versus other concurrent lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, smoking) is needed.
Depression is associated with an increased risk for the disease; management with antidepressants may provide a preventative measure.
Historically, long-term usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was thought to be associated with a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease as it reduces inflammation; however, NSAIDs do not appear to be useful as a treatment. Additionally, because women have a higher incidence of the disease than men, it was once thought that estrogen deficiency during menopause was a risk factor. However, there is a lack of evidence to show that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in menopause decreases the risk of cognitive decline.
Plant-made metallochaperones could be a novel approach to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease management
There is no cure; available treatments offer relatively small symptomatic benefits but remain palliative. However, treatments for Alzheimer’s disease can be categorized into pharmaceutical interventions, psychosocial approaches, and caregiving strategies. Here’s an overview of each category: