Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, and about 30 million cases worldwide have been accounted for. Due to an increase in global life expectancy in the world, it is expected that this prevalence will be quadrupled by 2050.
This is perhaps the worst kind of dementia because it affects thinking, memory loss, and behavior. Negative symptoms of this underlying disease slowly accumulate in you and gradually worsen over time until you cannot cope with your daily life.
Alzheimer's disease is, unfortunately, a progressive disease that seems endless. During the later stages of the illness, the patient will lose the ability to maintain conversations or respond to the environment. This is one of the leading causes of the death of the elderly, and the expected life span after the diagnosis is between four and eight years, although in some cases that number may increase to 20 years.
There is currently no proven cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are some treatments that may help relieve symptoms. With ongoing research, health professionals are hoping to discover a cure soon.
With this growing number, researchers are looking for new approaches to this disease prevention and treatment, and CBD is part of the solution. But to what extent does research prove its usefulness?
Alzheimer's disease usually begins with an attack on the brain's hippocampus, the critical brain area in treating memory. This causes memory and cognitive problems that determine early-stage illness. It also contributes to the anxiety, depression, and agitation that AD sufferers also have. As the disease progresses in the rest of the brain, other symptoms that interfere with normal functioning develop.
Over time, patients may become so disabled that they have difficulty coughing, swallowing, and breathing. They become more susceptible to food aspiration, pneumonia, and other infections, making Alzheimer's disease the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
So if you are an Alzheimer's patient, CBD could be considered as an option. Can CBD help my Alzheimer situation is the big question?
What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's is a progressive disorder that causes degeneration and death of brain cells. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia: the steadily declining ability of thinking, behavior, and social skills that hinder the ability of a person to function independently.
The first signs of illness may be forgetting events or recent conversations. As the disease progresses, an individual with Alzheimer's disease will develop a severe memory impairment and lose the ability to perform everyday tasks.
What Causes Alzheimer's?
Scientists believe, for most people, Alzheimer's may result from a combination of factors, including genetic, lifestyle, and environmental characteristics that affect the brain over time.
Less than 1% of the time, Alzheimer's is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee the development of the disease. These rare cases usually lead to illness in the middle ages.
The onset of Alzheimer's Disease is not fully understood, but we do know that the brain's non-functioning proteins tend to interrupt functioning brain cells (neurons), triggering a range of toxic events in Alzheimer's patients. Neurons are damaged, loose connections, and die.
The damage begins most often in the brain area that controls the memory, but the process begins years before the first symptoms. Neuronal loss is predictably spread to other areas of the brain. In the advanced stage of the disease, the brain is significantly reduced.
Current Treatment Options
Numerous conditions may cause dementia symptoms such as memory loss and others. If you are concerned about your memory or ability to think clearly, talk to your doctor for a full evaluation and diagnosis.
If you are concerned that a family member or friend may show signs of Alzheimer's, talk to them about your concerns. Urge them to undergo a medical examination for a proper diagnosis before recommending any treatments.
Current medications for Alzheimer's disease can sometimes help with memory symptoms and other cognitive changes. There are currently two types of medication to treat cognitive symptoms:
- Cholinesterase Inhibitors. These drugs act by increasing the level of communication between cells and by keeping the chemical messenger depleted in the brain by Alzheimer's disease. Improvement is modest.
Cholinesterase inhibitors may also improve neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as agitation or depression. The main unwanted effects of these medications are diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, and sleep disturbances. In patients with cardiac arrhythmia disorders, they may cause serious side effects.
- Memantine (Namenda) This drug acts in another communication network between brain cells and slows the progression of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease symptoms. It is sometimes used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Relatively rare side effects include dizziness and confusion.
Other medications, such as antidepressants, may also be prescribed to help control the symptoms of Alzheimer's related behavior.
Lifestyle and home remedies: A healthy lifestyle promotes good general health and can play a role in maintaining cognitive health.
- Exercise: Regular exercise is an integral part of the treatment plan. Activities such as daily walking can help improve mood and maintain healthy joints, muscles, and heart. Exercise can also promote a night of peaceful sleep and prevent constipation.
- Nutrition: You may forget to eat, lose interest in preparing meals, or not eating a healthy combination of food. You may also forget to drink enough fluids, which leads to dehydration.
CBD products offer potent antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. These are essential features because brain inflammation is considered to be the most contributing factor to AD. Therefore, it is not surprising that anti-inflammatory drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, reduce the risk of AD development. But these drugs can damage the kidneys. CBD and limited amounts of other cannabinoids are widely used with limited side effects and are considered safe for use in adults and the elderly.
How CBD Can Treat Alzheimer's Symptoms
The key symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are usually memory loss. The early signs of illness is typically a matter of remembering events or recent conversations. As the disease progresses, memory problems worsen, and other symptoms develop.
At first, you may be aware of the difficulties in memorizing things and organizing your thoughts. It is more likely that a family member or friend will realize that the symptoms get worse.
Brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease cause ever-greater problems with:
- Thinking and reasoning
- Making judgments and decisions
- Planning and performing familiar tasks
- Changes in personality and behavior
- Preserved skills
Cannabinoids interact with a part of the brain called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of many receptors, most notably CB1 and CB2. CB1 is present in all parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, responsible for our memory function and learning ability.
CB2 receptors live in some immune cells of our brain called micrograms. The endocannabinoid system responds to signals transmitted by CBD. This may help bolster memory function and the hippocampus, which is the first significant part of the body destroyed by Alzheimer's disease.
CBD oil for Alzheimer appears in weekly headlines, and new statements come from people who have successfully used cannabis products to treat severe medical conditions. While further research into the specific effects of CBD on Alzheimer's is still needed, there is enough evidence to suggest that it holds significant potential for treating it.