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Alzheimers Disease - Essay Example

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This essay, Alzheimer’s Disease, presents  Alzheimer’s disease which is a form of dementia in elderly people and is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that hinders with the patient’s capability to perform his every day chores and maintain social life…
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Alzheimers Disease
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Alzheimer’s Disease Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia in elderly people and is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that hinders with the patient’s capability to perform his every day chores and maintain social life.
Diagnosis
To diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, the patient’s past medical history must be recorded; a mini-mental exam must be taken; a detailed physical exam should be conducted that includes chest X-ray, blood tests, urinalysis, CT scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Electroencephalography, Electrocardiogram, Neuropsychological Testing, and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan. All these tests would lead to exact diagnosis.
Subjective Findings
Stage 1 has symptoms like losing way, asking something repeatedly, taking longer to perform daily tasks, having trouble in decision-making, putting things in weird places, and withdrawing from social life. Stage 2 shows symptoms like requiring assistance in performing daily tasks, forgetting recent happenings, mixing up distant past with recent past, having language problems, depression, insomnia and eating troubles. Stage 3 has symptoms like being unable to feed one, control bowel and urinary movements, speak, or recognize members of the family. Memory vanishes away (American Health Assistance Foundation, 2010).
Objective Findings
Objective findings include: Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) which are unusual clumps or tangles of a protein, known as tau, and are present within neurons and result in the malfunctioning of neurons; and, Amyloid plaques which are anomalous collections of a protein, known as beta-amyloid, inside the neurons, and may form due to abnormal processing of this protein. When an inflammation occurs in the region of these plaques, it causes the death of the neurons. Tangles and plaques make neurons lose connections with one another. This causes their death. The affected brain areas and brain tissues begin to shrink.
Treatment
Alzheimer’s disease does not have a specific treatment; however, measures can be taken to help patients maintain their mental health and normal behavioral patterns to slow down the progress of the disease (National Institute on Aging, 2010). The treatment is based upon the study of the causal process. Although there are drugs available which are helpful for Alzheimer’s patients but those can only slow down or delay the process and cannot stop or reverse it. These drugs normalize the function of neurotransmitters which helps in maintaining the thinking, reading and writing skills and behavioral patterns like sleeping and eating, for a small period, such as, some months.
Prognosis
An early-onset Alzheimer’s starts at the age of thirty but it happens in very few cases. The cause of early onset is mutation in any one of the three dissimilar inherited genes. This disease is more commonly found in elderly people over the age of sixty where it is called late-onset. Though the development of this disease is similar in both early and late onsets; however, the progress differs in every patient. Many patients may start showing symptoms after the age of sixty-five. The causes of late-onset may be hereditary or environmental. The chances of this diseases increases as the person goes in age. “The average life expectancy for someone with Alzheimers is 8 to 10 years after the onset of symptoms. However, individuals with Alzheimers have been known to live up to 20 years after the first signs emerge” (Hill, 2009).
References
American Health Assistance Foundation. (2010). Alzheimers symptoms & stages. Alzheimer’s Disease Research. Retrieved December 12, 2010, from http://www.ahaf.org/alzheimers/about/symptomsandstages.html#symptoms
Hill, C. (2009). Prognosis for people with Alzheimer’s disease. About.com: Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved December 12, 2010, from http://alzheimers.about.com/od/whatisalzheimer1/qt/prognosis.htm
National Institute on Aging. (2010). Treatment. Alzheimer’s Information. Retrieved December 12, 2010, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/AlzheimersInformation/Treatment.htm Read More
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