In such a difficult time, the support of friends and relatives becomes more important than ever. With Alzheimer’s disease such support is difficult to sustain, since the stricken person loses the social traits that drew others to her: a sense of humor, kindness, special interests and talents. She also loses control over language as a means of communication. The stricken person becomes a stranger to relatives and friends, who may react with withdrawal and avoidance, appalled at the loved one’s condition. In addition, visits can be difficult to manage since the victim is often confused by any changes in the daily routine and embarrassed by her inability to remember who the visitors are. The resulting isolation of the victim may also lead to isolation of the caregiver. As relatives or friends of Alzheimer’s disease victims, it is important for us to remind ourselves that the stricken person still needs and recognizes [Read more...]
Group or individual counseling sessions can be important for the caregiver. They also are sometimes offered for the afflicted person, but only people in the early stages of the disease do well in counseling sessions. To find out about counseling programs, consult your physician or get in touch with local hospital and mental health centers that might offer such sessions. The ADRDA nearest you will also know about types and locations of help available.
Respite: In adult day health centers, people with Alzheimer’s take part in activities according to their own abilities within a supervised, structured program. These provide the ill person with attention and social interaction, and provide caregivers with much-needed intervals of rest and relief. Respite in-home services, weekend assistance programs, and long-term (one to two weeks) respite care programs are also starting to develop in some hospitals and [Read more...]
Among physicians, we find a wide range of opinions on hormone therapy as a preventive measure. Some advocate it for all postmenopausal women; some promote it for women at high risk for osteoporosis, while others are against mass campaigns that recommend hormones for prevention. Generally, practicing physicians, in contrast to medical researchers, are more likely to use hormone therapy both to prevent and to treat osteoporosis. These physicians have direct contact with women and are thus forced to come to some decision regarding the prescribing of hormones. Women themselves may ask for hormones. The physician should explain the risks and possible benefits so that an informed decision can be made by the women themselves. Some physicians worry about the possibility of a lawsuit if they do not prescribe [Read more...]
A stroke, sometimes called a “shock,” occurs when the flow of an area of blood to the brain is disrupted. One of the most common forms of stroke, cerebral thrombosis, occurs when a clot develops in an artery damaged by atherosclerosis. In cerebral embolism, a wandering clot, or embolism, lodges in one of the arteries, blocking blood to the brain. In a cerebral hemorrhage, a burst artery floods the brain tissue with blood, causing blood loss to the brain and pressure on the brain tissue. This bleeding can be caused by a head injury or an aneurysm a blood-filed pouch that balloons out from a weak spot in the artery wall. Long-standing hypertension and having heart disease are major causes of strokes. Women with diabetes, especially those with hypertension, are at greater-than-average risk of stroke and should especially take action to keep their blood pressure normal. [Read more...]
Most people who have suffered a heart attack are admitted to a hospital coronary care unit (CCU) or intensive care unit (ICU). Here their heart is monitored, and life-saving services are available in case they are needed. For some people, however, the atmosphere in the ICU or CCU is itself tension-producing and may slow recovery. Two kinds of drugs are prescribed for people who have suffered a heart attack: those that increase the flow of blood, bringing extra oxygen to the heart; and those that reduce the need for oxygen. After a heart attack, the blocked artery that was responsible for the heart attack may need to be opened, allowing the heart to get adequate oxygen. New treatments to open blocked arteries have been developed. These use the same [Read more...]