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Anosognosia and Alzheimer's:  Forgetting Their Diagnosis

Anosognosia and Alzheimer's: Forgetting Their Diagnosis

June 04, 2020

A common and quite challenging aspect of Alzheimer's is anosognosia. Often as the disease progresses individuals suffering from Alzheimer's may fail to remember their diagnosis, further complicating the role of the caregiver.

Anosognosia is not a denial of the disease, but a true loss of consciousness about the changes, limitations, and severity at the cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral level, which the disease brings. This clinical phenomenon can have a significant impact on treatment and has further motivated efforts to discover natural treatments that may improve the quality of life and well-being of people living with Alzheimer's.

With most diseases, awareness about the disease allows people to find strategies and mechanisms to adapt to their new conditions. On the other hand, anosognosia in patients with diseases such as Alzheimer's can make it much more difficult to change routines, adhere to treatment, meet new people, change houses, change caregivers, or make other necessary transitions and lifestyle changes.

Anosognosia can often make patients feel more isolated, as well as lead to anxiety, sleep disorders, mood instability, all of which impact their quality of life. It also represents a risk for patients when they overestimate their ability to function normally in everyday life. Especially if they do not ask for help when performing certain tasks that could endanger their health, such as cooking and forgetting to turn off the stove.

One of the theories that may explain what causes anosognosia is the general cognitive deficit present in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

If detected in its early stages and given immediate medical attention, it has been found that proper treatment can curb the effects of other cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.

Research is underway on the use of natural components such as hemp extract, curcumin, and other plant derivatives, to develop solutions that may improve cognitive functions.

If clinically proven this would represent a pivotal advance in the treatment of some of the most challenging symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and could be imperative in improving the functioning of and quality of life of patients with AD. Improved faculties and cognitive functioning would allow patients to better care for themselves, could decrease frustration and agitation related to forgetfulness, and thus relieving significant stress experienced by caregivers.




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