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Annie Mueller

Annie Mueller is a freelance writer based in Missouri who covers business, tech, finance and health as well as managing content for SaaS teams and financial firms. Her work has appeared on NBC Business News, The Financial Brand, Success, Entrepreneur and Forbes, among others. Say hi on Twitter @anniemueller, where she's usually talking about whiskey or cats. 

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woman suffering from alzherimers disease

Treatment Options for Alzheimer’s Disease

With Alzheimer’s disease, an early diagnosis means more options

Conditions & Treatments

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About 1 in 10 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s. And almost 2 out of 3 are women.

Alzheimer’s disease begins years before symptoms appear and gets worse slowly.  

At first, symptoms may not be noticeable, but they get worse over time. 

Once diagnosed, people with Alzheimer’s live an average of 4–8 years, but they can live as long as 20 years. 

Pay attention to small changes 

Some early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

Memory loss

Challenges or problems with familiar tasks

Misplacing items


Social isolation

Changes in mood

Don’t delay

If you notice any changes in memory or thinking, don’t assume they are a normal sign of aging . They might be. But they might be the early signs of Alzheimer’s. 

Early diagnosis = better outcomes  

Alzheimer’s drugs can help some people, especially when taken at the first sign of changes in memory or thinking. 

Less cognitive impairment at diagnosis is linked with a longer life expectancy.

Early diagnosis = more treatment options

Treatment options change as the disease progresses. The newer treatments depend on an early, accurate diagnosis because they’re not effective at a later stage.

Two types of Alzheimer’s drugs

  • Drugs that may slow or change how the disease progresses in earlier stages

  • Drugs that h elp manage symptoms in later stages

Early stage treatments: slow disease progression

These drugs attach and remove beta-amyloid from the brain. 

Beta-amyloid is a protein that clumps together to form sticky plaques in the brain, causing brain cells to die.

But these types of drugs only work for so long. As the disease gets worse, brain damage becomes irreversible. Treatments can’t slow down the pace anymore. 

Later stage treatment: help manage symptoms

These drugs include:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors

    • manage symptoms of mild dementia, such as memory and thinking

  • Glutamate regulators 

    • manage symptoms of moderate to severe dementia, such as performing simple tasks

  • Orexin receptor antagonist 

Early treatment is possible

Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed earlier than ever. An early diagnosis can ensure you get the best treatment options possible. 

Don’t wait — tell your healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms of Alzheimer’s. 

This educational resource was created with support from Eli Lilly and Company, a 2023 HealthyWomen Corporate Advisory Council member.


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