Learn more about Alzheimer's

An Alzheimer's patient needs constant attention and care from their family and friends to cope with the disease

September 20, 2011 04:52 pm | Updated November 13, 2021 10:04 am IST

A number of short films and documentaries, like The Alzheimer's Project', have shown the plight of patients

A number of short films and documentaries, like The Alzheimer's Project', have shown the plight of patients

The world lost a great leader when Ronald Reagan walked into the sunset with Alzheimer's disease and the most regretful episode was that he failed to recognize his wife of 52 years; Nancy Reagan who had stood by his side despite all the lows. The tragedy of this disease is the loss of memory, disorientation of time and space and the inability to do the day to day activities.

Alzheimer's disease affects that part of the brain which controls thought, memory and language. The brain is composed of millions of nerve cells which communicate with each other by the transmission of chemicals at the junction of synapse. This exchange is affected due to this disease leading to abnormal clumps in those areas of the brain that ultimately cease to function. The incidence of the disease is in the elderly and the occurrence increases with ageing. As such there is no genetic predilection but it tends to run in the progeny.

The usual symptom of the disease is that the individuals tend to forget things that have just happened during the day. They have difficulty in attending to routine tasks that they have been used to over the years. Communication is affected and their expression is marred as they tend to forget even common words as incoherence sets in. They may start expressing in an unintelligible language too. Losing sense of time, of day or night, forgetting the place they are in are the other usual symptoms. Normally physically fit individuals can suffer with difficulties in walking and tending to stumble along without any reason. They may seem to misplace things and when they do find them would wonder why they were looking for those in the first place. This also takes a toll on the mental health as even the patient find themselves irritated more often while they get morose and start brooding without any genuine reason. Stimulation of light and sound would become taboo. Slightest change in familiar surroundings makes them very uncomfortable and adaptation becomes difficult.

Lethargy is high as even day-to-day chores become a struggle and small errands appear as huge tasks. Despite the best efforts of the family they could feel that their freedom is being curtailed. Though all the above symptoms appear very common to old age, the fact that all these happen in a couple of years is the most disconcerting feature. The discomfiture could appear in the form of difficulty in speech, swallowing, control over bowel and bladder care that makes the individual completely dependent.

No system of medicine can boast of a cure today; efforts are on to find the probable leading cause for the degeneration of intellect so that it can be curtailed. But there are certain remedies that can alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life during every stage of the disease. The encouraging results seen in the treatment of dementia that can occur after stroke and diseases like hypothyroidism which are similar to this disease in manifestation of some symptoms, albeit temporarily, gives hope in the future for the treatment of the disease. With the help of constitutional homoeopathic remedies, the memory loss could be stalled and thought process improved.

More than anything, the patient needs love and affection, proper communication with patience, good humour and innovation from their family. Certain remedies like Baryta Carb , Alumina have been studied on patients with the above symptoms while Gingko bilboa has been found to increase the vascular supply to the brain, the lack of which seems to result in Alzheimer's. Hyoscyamus and Phosphorus are other remedies that have been found to help too.

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