Munson Health
Alzheimer's Disease

Back to Document

by Carson-DeWitt R

(Alzheimer's Dementia)



Areas of the Brain Affected by Alzheimer's Disease
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

People who are over 65 years of age have an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Other factors that may increase your chance of Alzheimer's disease include:
Researchers are studying the following to see if they are related to Alzheimer's disease:
  • Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency in childhood
  • Excess metal in the blood, especially zinc, copper, aluminum, and iron
  • Certain viral infections
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol


There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. There are no certain ways to slow its progression. Medication is available to treat some of the symptoms. The goal is to find a medication that can manage the symptoms or slow the condition's course.

Medications for Symptoms and Disease Progression

Medications that have been approved to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include:
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors—Recommended for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease
  • N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist—For moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease

Lifestyle Management

Managing the disease includes:
  • Creating an environment in which you can receive the care you need
  • Keeping your quality of life as high as possible
  • Keeping yourself safe
  • Helping yourself learn to deal with the frustration of your uncontrollable behavior
  • Providing a calm, quiet, predictable environment
  • Providing appropriate eyewear and hearing aids, and easy-to-read clocks and calendars
  • Playing quiet music
  • Doing light, appropriate exercise to reduce agitation and relieve depression
  • Encouraging family and close friends to visit frequently

Caregiver Support

Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease is difficult and exhausting. The primary caregiver needs emotional support, rest, and regular breaks. The Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent resource for families and caregivers


There are no guidelines for preventing Alzheimer's disease because the exact cause is unknown. However, the following factors may help you reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease:
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fish.
  • Drink alcohol, but in moderation. This means no more than two drinks per day for a man, and one drink per day for a woman.
  • Exercise regularly .
  • Engage in mentally stimulating activities.


Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center



Alzheimer Society Canada

Health Canada



Albanese E, Dangour AD, et al. Dietary fish and meat intake and dementia in Latin America, China, and India: a 10/66 Dementia Research Group population-based study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(2):392-400.

Alzheimer disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 31, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.

Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: Accessed August 18, 2014.

Anstey KJ, Mack HA, et al. Alcohol consumption as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline: meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009;17(7):542-555.

Carillo MC, Blackwell A, et al. Early risk assessment for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers dementia. 2009;5(2):182-196.

Deweerdt S. Prevention: activity is the best medicine. Nature. 2011;475:S16-S17.

Gidoni R, et al. Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease: the present and the future. Neurodegen Dis. 2011;8:413-420.

Green RC, Cupples LA, et al. Risk of dementia among white and African-American relatives of patients with Alzheimer disease. JAMA. 2002;287:329-336.

Hampel H, Frank R, et al. Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease: academic, industry and regulatory perspectives. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2010;9:560-574.

Hayden KM, Welsh-Bohmer KA. Epidemiology of cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease: contributions of the Cache County Utah study of memory, health, and aging. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2011 Aug 2.

Neugroschl J, Sano M. An update on treatment and prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2009;9:368-376.

Ruitenberg A, van Swieten JC, et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia: the Rotterdam Study. Lancet. 2002;359(9303):281-286.

1/8/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: Snitz BE, O'Meara ES, et al. Ginkgo biloba for preventing cognitive decline in older adults: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2009;302:2663-2670.

5/4/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: Buchman AS, Boyle PA, et al. Total daily physical activity and the risk of AD and cognitive decline in older adults. Neurology. 2012;78(17):1323-1329.

9/3/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: Wippold FJ, Cornelius RS, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for dementia and movement disorders. Available at: Updated 2014. Accessed September 3, 2014.


Revision Information