Alzheimer's disease is unfortunately a very common condition whose incidence increases with age. It is one of the leading causes of dementia (However more common cause of dementia in elderly is connected to multiple mini-strokes caused by lifelong damage to brain small blood vessels by atherosclerosis and high blood pressure).
The essence of Alzheimer's disease is abnormal destruction of brain cells (neurons) without a clear factor. The brain shrinks and atrophy emerges but this process is not specific for people with Alzheimer's disease. Unquestionable risk factor is older age and also genetics may play some role (the disease occurrence often has a family history). There are many theories about factors contributing to neuron deaths but no clear result has been made. Some theories mention an influence of aluminum toxicity and oxygen radicals’ effects.
The process is subtle and often lasts many years before symptoms emerge. The brain is still a not fully explored organ and a very complex system consisting of a richly connected neurons with great potential to functionally replace high losses. This ability is however not unlimited. During disease's progression the victim slowly loses short memory abilities – it becomes harder to learn new information. Later the inability to remember new information worsens; the person becomes confused and can get lost in less familiar surroundings. Finally a full-scale dementia develops with complete loss of self-sufficiency. Even basic skills can be impaired or lost such as maintaining basic hygiene and food intake. Stool incontinence appears relatively frequently in advanced disease. It is surely a troubling condition for both the patient and his relatives. It is a great physical and psychical challenge to care about people with advanced forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
By many patients with Alzheimer's disease Parkinson's disease develops and vice versa. There is an obvious connection between these conditions.
Perhaps but really just perhaps it may be important to have a sufficient intake of substances with antioxidant effects to prevent oxidative stress i.e. lots of fruit and vegetables. Not to use aluminous cutlery, tin plates etc. could be also advisable although aluminium. It was also found that Alzheimer's disease slowly progresses by educated people. So it may bee a good option train and stimulate your brain, read a lot of books, solve puzzles etc.
Many drugs have been tested such as medicines affecting the metabolism of brain substances transmitting impulses among neurons (these substances are called neurotransmitters), drugs for improving brain blood flow and some antidepressants. There is a great effort to successfully cure the disease but effectiveness of many pharmacological agents is at least doubtful. The disease itself can be slowed but unfortunately not stopped or reversed.