Care for Alzheimer’s Disease
Why Choose Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease at University of Colorado Hospital?
Since 1987, the Neurobehavior Clinic at University of Colorado Hospital has treated patients with a wide range of cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
This clinic is unique in the region as a resource for subspecialty expertise in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry.
If You Have Concerns
If you have concerns about a loved one with memory loss or behavioral changes – or if you notice these changes in yourself – talk to a specialist.
Our specialists combine a thorough review of all medical, neurologic, psychiatric, neuroradiological and neuropsychological information with a detailed clinical examination to reach an accurate diagnosis and create the best approach to care.
Alzheimer’s Disease Specialists
Behavioral Neurologist. A doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders that affect behavior.
Neuropsychiatrist. A doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the behavioral effects of brain disorders.
Other Alzheimer’s Disease Staff
Geriatrician. A physician who specializes in the care of older adults.
Tests and Treatments
A specialist will complete a thorough medical history and comprehensive examination to evaluate symptoms. Blood tests as well as brain imaging scans are also performed in the diagnostic process of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
Drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease can be divided into two categories – drugs for cognitive symptoms and those for behavioral symptoms.
Treatment for cognitive symptoms includes the following medications:
Cholinesterase Inhibitors. Cholinesterase inhibitors are approved to treat mild to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and can delay the worsening of symptoms.
Memantine. Memantine is used to treat moderate to severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and can also delay the progression of symptoms.
Drug treatment for behavioral symptoms includes the following medications:
Antidepressants. Antidepressant medications are prescribed to treat depressed mood and major depression.
Anxiolytics. Anxiolytic medications are used to treat anxiety and nervousness.
Antipsychotics. Antipsychotic medications are most often used to treat agitation, but are also used for hallucinations, delusions and aggression.
Research on Alzheimer’s disease at University of Colorado Hospital is diverse, involving both clinical and basic neuroscience. Clinical studies are underway on the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease using new neuroimaging techniques. Studies are also being performed on the treatment of memory loss with the diabetes medication pioglitazone.
Technology and Alzheimer’s Disease
University of Colorado Hospital researchers are investigating functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning to improve the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, so that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible.
Living With Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease cannot be prevented or cured, but treatment options are available to address symptoms of the disease.
Several prescription drugs, for example, may help with symptoms such as forgetfulness. Talk to your doctor about medicines that might improve your own symptoms or those of a loved one. Discuss any side effects that may result from taking medication.
If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you should be especially careful to take care of yourself by eating well, taking your prescription medications, getting regular check-ups and being physically active.
You should also find ways to deal with the range of emotions you may experience. Talk to a counselor or family and friends, join a support group or write about your feelings in a journal.
If you are caring for a person who has Alzheimer’s disease, it is a good idea to learn about the changes the individual may undergo as the disease progresses. The responsibilities of caring for a loved one are many and can be exhausting. There are resources available to help you cope with caring for a person suffering from the disease.
Getting a Second Opinion
Caregivers or people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease can seek additional medical advice from another doctor or specialist. A second opinion is often helpful, and can lead to identifying further resources and assistance.
Alzheimer's at a Glance
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects regions of the brain that control memory, thoughts, language and emotion.
The disease begins slowly and causes forgetfulness at first, but over time can lead to severe brain damage and death.
Alzheimer’s disease can cause the following symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Language dysfunction
- Changes in behavior
- Impaired judgment
Scientists do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but increasing age is the most important risk factor. A family history of the illness may also increase the likelihood of developing the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5 million adults in the U.S. Most people diagnosed with the disease are over the age of 65. Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in people 65 and older.