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Alzheimers Disease - Essay Example

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Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people (National Institute on Aging, 2008). It is a serious condition which affects the simple brain functions such as memory by those affected by it. It is estimated that approximately 5 million Americans are affected by this disease and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (Alzheimer's Association, 2008)…
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Alzheimers Disease

Download file to see previous pages... The frequency of AD increases with each adult of decade life, reaching 20-40% of the population over the age of 85 (Fauci et.al, 2008). It is present in approximately 3% to 11% of people older than 65 years of age and in 25% to 47% of people older than 85% (Seidel et.al, 2006).
The cognitive changes with AD tend to follow a characteristic pattern, beginning with memory impairment and spreading to language and visuospatial deficits (Fauci et al., 2008). Initially, patients present with "forgetfulness", with them having difficulty remembering recent events or names of familiar people. However, as the disease progresses, their cognition is affected and they no longer think clearly. Eventually, language deficits will present as problems in speaking, understanding, reading, or writing. Problems with simple activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, eating and solving simple calculations will soon follow.
The most important risk factors for AD are old age & a positive family history (Fauci, et.al, 2008). The risk for AD increases with increasing age and although the most cases do not show an inheritance patter, there is Familial Alzheimer's Disease which is an inherited and rare
form of this disease, occurring at an earlier onset. ...
Females are affected more than males.
At present, the only way to definitely diagnose Alzheimer'sis through a brain autopsy but for living patients, physicians can correctly diagnose Alzheimer'sdisease about 90 percent of the time based on mental and behavioral symptoms, a physical examination, neuropsychological tests and laboratory tests (Alzheimer's Disease Research, 2008). A thorough subjective and objective assessment is pertinent to do in a patient suspected of having AD. Signs and symptoms experienced by the patient, especially of mental and behavioral deficits, and a complete family history should be obtained from the patient. Physical examination and neuropsychological examinations are also performed to confirm or rule out any pathology causing other types of dementia.
Brain scans such as MRI and CT Scan can show characteristic structural changes present in Alzheimer's disease as well as rule out brain tumors or ischemia as the cause for the dementia. EEG can also be performed to measure the brain activity of the patient. Neuropsychological examinations include the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), to help confirm that the patient is experiencing problems with intellectual functions (Alzheimer's Disease Research, 2008). Patients who have a family history should undergo tests in their early 30's to 40's and as a general screening, older population, especially those with initial symptoms should have

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themselves tested in their 50's or 60's. The tests can be repeated every 6 or 12 months, to verify the degree of progression of the dementia.
Non-pharmacological prevention strategies include early prevention and lifestyle modification. Proper diet, regular exercise ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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