Alzheimer's Disease

Overview

With a marked increase in the aging population, the worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is expected to rise proportionally. Estimates suggest that 11-16 million Americans over 65 years of age will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by 2050.

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a decline in cognitive function that eventually leads to death. Consequences of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, and the accumulation of toxic proteins in and around neurons have been implicated in the progression of the disease. Obesity, nutrient deficiency, declining hormone levels and vascular dysfunction also contribute to some aspects of the disease.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Brain deterioration in Alzheimer's disease is thought to begin decades before symptoms become evident. Autopsy is the only means of a definitive diagnosis, and there is no single test to definitively diagnose Alzheimer's disease in the living. Through gathering patient history data, assessment of cognition and functional status, and brain imaging examinations (MRI), physicians must confirm that neurological deficits are not caused by conditions such as vascular dementia.

Medical Treatment

Conventional pharmacologic interventions target certain symptoms but fall short of addressing the contributing factors for Alzheimer's disease. This results in a small reduction of symptoms but does not halt or reverse disease processes.

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are the first line of pharmacotherapy for mild-to-moderate instances of the disease. They prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain, by inhibiting a certain enzyme. The first cholinesterase-inhibiting drug was withdrawn from the U.S. market due to possible liver toxicity. NMDA receptor blockers are prescribed for moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease. NMDA receptor antagonists have also been linked to serious adverse effects, particularly in combination with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

How We Can Help

At Divine Design, we primarily assist in the proper prevention of Alzheimer's but can likewise help the body to withstand the ravages of this disorder through appropriate protocols of adjustments and nutritional supplementation.

Specific nutritional supplementation can protect the brain against oxidative stress, mitochondrial and neuronal dysfunction, inflammation, and the accumulation of toxic proteins while promoting proper levels of hormones and neurotransmitters. With specific chiropractic stimulation of nerve pathways, neuronal integrity can be maintained.

Alzheimer's treatment requires the acknowledgement of many possible factors underlying the changes in brain structure and function that drive this complex condition. Analysis of dietary patterns indicates that nutrient composition affects the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and can positively protect the brain from early decline. Reduced risk of Alzheimer's is observed among those whose diet includes a high intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and legumes, as well as a low intake of meats, high fat dairy, and sweets. A low-calorie diet also reduces the risk of cognitive impairment.

Much research illustrates that patients with cognitive decline who exercise have reduced brain atrophy compared with those who do not. As little as three minutes of very intense exercise has been shown to sharply raise brain activity and to produce marked memory improvement.