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"What is the first response to Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease?"
My mother is 61 and she was just diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. What is the first line of treatment we should pursue now? I've heard so many things, from tomatoes to social networks, that it's difficult to know where to start.
Alzheimer's disease, as you know, is a degenerative brain condition which leads to progressive social impairment and dementia. Sometimes early onset Alzheimer's disease can progress more rapidly than late onset Alzheimer's disease. The amount of information on how to help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease is overwhelming. Most things that you will find on the internet have not been definitively proven. However, there are a few basics which are helpful. First, controlling your mother's other chronic illness is very important. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and the like all contribute to more rapid progression of Alzheimer's disease. Second, it is important for your mother to have plenty of social and learning opportunities. Patients who are exposed to a diverse and interesting environment and have good creative outlets tend to do better and to have preserved cognitive function for longer. You may also want to consider discussing the issue with your mother's geriatrician or neurologist. There are several medications, such as the cholinesterase inhibitors, which our now being used rather routinely in Alzheimer's patients to preserve cognitive function, to help memory, and to keep independence for as long as possible.
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