Alzheimer’s disease is a crippling neurodegenerative disease that stems from the development of certain proteins in the brain. This protein development affects how the brain functions and progressively damages the brain’s nerve cells. As the disease advances, the symptoms also get worse.
Although the disease is terminal in its late stages, it does not directly kill the patient. Instead, the complications from the symptoms are what result in a patient’s eventual passing. Common complications include pneumonia, reduced brain function, and dementia.
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can feel like a devastating blow, especially when you do not know what symptoms to expect. However, the more you learn about the disease and the help that is available to you and your loved one, the more adept you become at planning for the future. To help you along with this journey, we’ve put together a few tips to help you or your loved one manage the symptoms of this difficult condition.
1. Take your medication as prescribed.
While there is still no FDA approved cure for Alzheimer’s, your healthcare provider can prescribe medication that can help alleviate its symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Most of the prescribed medication work to regulate and maintain acetylcholine levels in the brain. This is a neurotransmitter (think of it as the body’s chemical messenger) that helps with memory. Other prescribed medication like Memantine works to minimize the symptoms of excess glutamate secretion.
Alzheimer’s patients release a large amount of glutamate, a brain chemical that damages brain cells. Additional medication may also include antipsychotics and antidepressants. The reason why these are prescribed is that most Alzheimer’s patients suffer from depression, hallucinations, aggression, and agitation.
If you or a loved one are finding it challenging to re-fill a prescription, prescription referral services like CheapoMeds exist to help you access your prescription conveniently. They will connect you to an international network of CIPA certified pharmacies and pharmacists who will help you access affordable prescription and non-prescription medication. Working with the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI), they also make it possible for you to import medication from Canada.
Understanding that a majority of salaried, low-income patients and elderly Americans struggle to afford the high cost of prescription medications in the United States, they will link you to licensed Canadian pharmacies and allow you access to affordable medication for your personal use. This partnership also allows you immediate access to much-needed medication for other terminal health conditions.
2. Take up therapeutic activities.
Caregivers may sometimes find it difficult to find or even plan significant activities for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s. To get over this hurdle, begin by selecting activities that spark or sparked your loved one’s interests, as this is a great way to get them engaged. This is an important first step as most Alzheimer’s patients go through a series of turbulent behavioral changes which sometimes manifest as frustration, agitation, anger, or depression. Knowing this, therapeutic activities that are linked to their interests can be a great way to help them take advantage of the abilities and memories that they still have.
The key to having a successful therapeutic exercise is making sure that the activity becomes a habit. A great way to do this is to establish a routine. Have the activity at the same time, or at the same location, to maintain a sense of balance. Previously enjoyed hobbies like singing, playing an instrument, bird watching, gardening can be beneficial, while also helping to relieve symptoms such as agitation.
Some of the therapeutic activities that have been researched and found to alleviate behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients include arts and crafts, pet therapy, baking, and walking.
3. Consider a holistic approach to wellness.
Taking a holistic approach to wellness involves pursuing a form of healing that accounts for the individual’s spirit, mind, body, and emotions. The health and wellness industry has been buzzing about CBD, and if you live in a state that has legalized its use, then this may come as no surprise to you. The beauty industry is constantly churning out CBD infused lotions and bath bombs, spas offer CBD oil massages and facials, and now, the health and wellness industry is also exploring ways to incorporate CBD in medical treatments.
To begin with, cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two most common cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemicals found in marijuana plants. THC is another well-known cannabinoid and is responsible for having a psychoactive effect or a “high” feeling on the user. On the other hand, CBD is non-psychoactive and is instead lauded for its calming and relaxing effect. For this reason—and although clinical trials are still ongoing—CBD is medically sought after for its anti-inflammatory and pain management properties treatment of depression, arthritis, anxiety, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.
CBD oil is helpful to Alzheimer’s patients as it helps them manage some symptoms of the disease. A way in which it does this is by soothing brain inflammation that results from damage caused to the brain tissues. Some Alzheimer’s patients also suffer from anxiety and agitation and other behavioral changes. In cases such as these, CBD oil may help instill a sense of calm and help manage these symptoms.
Another big question to consider is, does Medicare cover medical marijuana or CBD oil? The easy answer to this would be yes, considering how many epilepsy patients benefit from the drug Epidiolex. Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD brand name medication for the treatment of seizures in epilepsy patients. Medicare will sometimes include it in the medication list of costs that it does cover. However, has not yet been legalized on the federal level, consequently, Medicare does not cover prescriptions for medical marijuana. Medication like Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid that has been found to reduce aggression and agitation in Alzheimer’s patients. It is still an unapproved drug, and clinical trials are still ongoing.
With a booming CBD manufacturing industry and a growing American consumer interest in wellness and alternative treatments, it can be difficult to tell apart authentic CBD products stockists from money-hungry ones. Additionally, pending FDA approval on medical marijuana use, makes all the more difficult to know what products you can trust. To avoid this, here are some things to look out for in your CBD products stockist:
- Consider how the product is extracted. Companies like Basic CBD are very forthcoming with information on their extraction methods. Knowing how a CBD product is extracted allows you to understand the quality of the brand as well as the CBD.
- Confirm that the CBD products are either full-spectrum or broad-spectrum.
- Consider where and how the company sources its CBD.
- Consider third-party testing reports. Third-party testing or independent lab testing is important as it provides an impartial review of the company’s CBD product. These tests also look into the potency, quality, and purity of the CBD sample.
More clinical studies are underway to help us better understand the medicinal benefits and side effects that CBD oil may have on the user. Because CBD is still not federally approved, and marijuana use is still highly regulated, research is still limited. Perhaps the legalization of recreational marijuana will make the research process more possible. Until then, make sure you consult your doctor before embarking on a new course of treatment.