When an elderly Kathak exponent from Kolkata started forgetting her dance steps midway through her performance, little did she know that Alzheimer’s was staking a claim on her memories. An 80-year-old gentleman found himself in a similar predicament when he couldn’t recollect the address of the house he had lived for forty years of his life.
But instead of giving into the progressive ailment, they both sought out answers to their problem in holistic medicine, and this brought them to Dr Shreepad Khedekar, an exponent in homoeopathic medicines and MD of Imperial Clinics, who has treated the likes of tennis player Novak Djokovic and Serbian footballer Marko Pantelic.
Long story short, the 70-year-old dancer is back on stage, pursuing her vocation with renewed vigour, and the gentleman, who started responding positively to the medication within just two months, has shown remarkable progress after three years on homoeopathic medication.
In the winter of your life, you find solace in the memories that made your life sweeter. In these ‘Golden Years’, many elderly people with Alzheimer’s wage a losing battle against their own body in a bid to preserve their sanity. Eventually, Alzheimer’s leaves them with no choice but to concede defeat. Read all about Alzheimer’s disease.
Who is at risk?
• Those with a rare gene mutation – Dr Khedekar says, “The risk of developing Alzheimer’s is higher if a first-degree relative, like parents or siblings, has it. People with rare gene mutation Apolipoprotein E4 (APoE4) is linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s symptoms as early as their 30s.”
• The elderly – “Increasing age is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The ailment is not a part of normal ageing, but its risk increases significantly after the age of 65. The risk doubles every decade after age 60,” says the doctor.
• More women than men – Dr Khedekar says that more females than males are at greater risk, attributed to the fact that women live longer than men. “Women carrying a copy of APoE4 gene are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s as compared to men may be due to gene interaction with oestrogen,” adds the doctor.
• Head traumas and strokes – “Physical trauma as in accident where the brain suffers significant damage, or medical conditions like stroke or lack of oxygen can predispose one to Alzheimer’s,” states Dr Khedekar.
What are the limitations of conventional treatment for Alzheimer’s?
Dr Khedekar says that allopathy has very less to offer for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. “Considering that it only has palliative drugs like Tacrine, Rivastigmine, Galantamine, Donepezil and Memantine which work as Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, allopathy only has marginal benefits and that too with many side effects.” In stark contrast with this is homoeopathy, which treats the sufferer at a holistic level and helps the sufferer’s body correct the pathology on its own accord, without ANY side effects.“
If diagnosed early, homoeopathic remedies can help in significantly arresting or even possibly reversing the disease,” says the doctor. Some of the remedies used for treating Alzheimer’s are:
• Nux Vomica
• Baryta Carbonica
• Natrum Sulphur
How can one reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s?
• Mind -The key to reducing Alzheimer’s risk according to Dr Khedekar is to keep the mind occupied and active. “Mentally stimulating activities like learning a new language or playing puzzles, games and solving problems can prevent brain atrophy,” he states. “Music therapy has also helped to a large extent.”
• Body- It goes without saying that a healthy lifestyle goes a long way in preventing any degenerative disease. “Cardiovascular exercising can help. A healthy diet, social engagement and intellectual stimulation are known to reduce risk factors for Alzheimer’s,” says Dr Khedekar.
How can caregivers help, in addition to homoeopathic treatment?
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be demanding; suddenly, someone whom you have known all your life behaves abnormally, displays aggression or wanders far away from home. “Memory and language loss, impaired judgment, and other cognitive changes caused by Alzheimer’s can also complicate treatment for other health conditions; therefore caregiver may have to cope with a lot of mental and physical challenges,” adds Dr Khedekar. “Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy.”
Apart from this, the doctor prescribes good coping skills, a strong support network and respite care to help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.