Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, according to the Hong Kong government’s Elderly Health Service.  Around 65% of all reported cases of dementia in the region are due to Alzheimer’s and it is on the increase, with up to a third of the SAR’s senior citizens aged 80 and older, expected to suffer from some form of dementia by 2050.

Common symptoms include confusion, memory loss, difficulty communicating, anxiousness and paranoia.

We care about your wellbeing and will provide you with guidance, knowledge, and tools necessary to deal with this condition. We first begin by assessing your DNA profile and your digestive functionality. This will enable us to address any underlying imbalances, such as nutritional deficiencies, thyroid functionality, mercury toxicity, hormonal imbalances, inflammation. We then create a personalised treatment plan based on these specialised diagnostic testing and your health history.

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease - this means there is progressive brain cell death, which happens years before symptoms appear. It is thought to be caused by an abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells, this causes a decrease in neurotransmitters, i.e. sending messages between brain cells.

Several factors are known to increase your risk of developing this condition:

  • Aging
  • A family history of Alzheimer’s
  • Carrying a certain gene
  • Head injury
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hearing loss
  • Untreated depression
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Loneliness or social isolation
  • Exposures to environment contaminants, such as toxic metals, pesticide, and industrial chemicals

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and normal ageing?

Changes to the brain tissue, including the build-up of abnormal protein structures called amyloid plaques and tau tangles characterise Alzheimer’s disease. While the actual origins and causes of Alzheimer’s are still unclear, many scientists and medical professionals believe these changes lie at the root of this disease. While many people experience some decline in their cognitive abilities as they grow older, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not considered a normal part of the ageing process. For example, while people may have difficulty recalling the names of acquaintances as part of normal age-associated memory impairment, people with dementia will have problems recognising and remembering the name of family members.

Normal age-related impairments may lead people to occasionally forget events and things, while people with dementia will forget them frequently. By the middle to late stages of dementia, the cognitive impairment will substantially affect sufferers’ ability to carry out day to day tasks.

While dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process, age is a risk factor for the disease. Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia increases as you age.

What should I do if I suspect I may have Alzheimer’s disease?

Many people start to develop the brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease as early as their late 30s even though the symptoms themselves only appear later in the mid-60s. This means once the symptoms begin, it is important to see a practitioner and address them quickly.

Getting some assistance with diagnosis via medical imaging, cognitive exams and other memory-based testing is an important step in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Other illnesses can have similar signs and symptoms, such as Parkinson’s disease, depression or past strokes. These tests can also give both the practitioner and the patient a clearer idea of what can be achieved with treatment interventions.

Dementia is marked by a progressive decline in cognitive and intellectual functioning, which includes memory, comprehension, language and judgment, such as:

  • Reduced ability to take in and remember new information (e.g. forgetting events, appointments; misplacing personal belongs, repetitive questions or conversations)
  • Impairments to reasoning and exercising judgment (e.g. poor understanding of safety risk, inability to manage finance)
  • Inability to recognise objects and faces Difficulty thinking of common words while speaking, hesitating
  • Changes in personality and behaviour, (e.g. mood swings, agitation, social withdrawal, lack of interest, motivation

At IMI, a naturopathic doctor will begin by profiling your DNA; particular configurations of genes within the APOE 4 group of DNA can greatly increase the functional tendencies that can lead the brain towards Alzheimer’s disease. These can be mitigated with treatment via nutrition, exercise and herbal medicine. We can also offer herbal supplements that have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the brain and support brain health. Treatment plans are always highly individualised because our goal is to help you achieve optimal health and vitality.

What to do next

We suggest that you consult one of our naturopaths in the first instance. Call 2523 7121 or fill in the enquiry e-form below for an appointment.