(Natural News) An estimated 5.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of this debilitating illness include memory loss, agitation, mood swings, impaired judgment, difficulty handling money effectively, struggling with normal everyday tasks, confusion, misplacing things and difficulty communicating, among many others. The incredible strain this illness places on families and caregivers of those suffering with Alzheimer’s makes it understandable that many turn to antipsychotic drugs like haloperidol and risperidone to help to calm the affected person and make the condition more manageable.
A shocking new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, however, may have many families thinking twice about turning to these toxic drugs.
Antipsychotic drug use is associated with a 60 percent increased risk of mortality among persons with Alzheimer’s disease, shows a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. The risk was highest at the beginning of drug use and remained increased in long-term use. Use of two or more antipsychotic drugs concomitantly was associated with almost two times higher risk of mortality than monotherapy.
Researchers based their findings on the national Finnish Medication and Alzheimer’s Disease study (MEDALZ), which tracked 57,755 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s between 2005 and 2011. None of the participants were using antipsychotic drugs, had a history of a psychiatric disorder or had cancer at the time of the study. During the follow-up period, 27 percent of the participants began using some type of antipsychotic drug.
Researchers determine that haloperidol carries a particularly high increased mortality risk, as do higher doses of risperidone. Using two or more antipsychotic drugs concurrently was associated with the greatest risk of all.
IOS Press noted:
The study confirms current recommendations that antipsychotic drugs should be used only for the most difficult behavioural symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and aggression, and the duration of use should be limited. Furthermore, the lowest effective doses are recommended, and concomitant use of two or more antipsychotics should be avoided.
This was by no means the first study to warn about a correlation between antipsychotic drug use in Alzheimer’s patients and increased mortality rates. Researchers started warning about this risk over a decade ago, but it has done little to alter the number of prescriptions handed out for these dangerous drugs.
Does this mean there is nothing you can do to help a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s?
Not at all. While the exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease remain elusive, there is anecdotal evidence that at least one possible natural cure may exist.
Natural News previously reported on a Florida doctor who stopped her husband’s Alzheimer’s in its tracks by giving him four teaspoons of coconut oil every day for a year. At the end of that time he was able to once again exercise and take care of himself, and his brain atrophy was completely halted. (Related: Discover the healing power of nature at Nutrients.news)
Of course, no matter what the condition, prevention is always better than cure. While we are still healthy, each and every one of us can take definite steps to stave off Alzheimer’s, including:
• Exercise regularly: One study found that regular exercise can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 percent.
• Clean up your diet: Doctors recommend switching to a brain-healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet which is high in healthy fats like omega-3, reducing inflammation and the production of free radicals which are known to place unnecessary strain on the brain.
• Mind games: Constant mental stimulation has been linked to a dramatically reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, so stay mentally active, do crossword puzzles or join a local quiz night.
• Quiet, uninterrupted sleep: The body flushes toxins out of the body while we sleep. HelpGuide.org notes, “[S]tudies have linked poor sleep to higher levels of beta-amyloid, a sticky brain-clogging protein that in turn further interferes with sleep – especially with the deep sleep necessary for memory formation.”
There are definite things each one of us can do to prevent this debilitating illness, and if a loved one is already struggling with it, it’s worth finding natural ways to help them feel calm, rather than turning to Big Pharma’s destructive medications.