Alzheimer disease is a form of dementia which grows severely as it progresses. It is a fatal disease which was named after Alois Alzheimer. The latter was the first scientist who explored and fully described the existence of the disease among human beings (Brill 34).
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The ailment usually develops with multiple symptoms that may be easily confused with those of other similar or closely related complications. The most remarkable feature of the disease is the loss of ability to remember events in an individual’s life. Thinking abilities of patients are significantly compromised.
As a result, it becomes quite cumbersome for them to maintain a regular mental sequence. It is also worth to mention that the malady advances with more evident symptoms such as total memory loss, confusion and irritability (Green 90). The affected persons begin to move away from family members and they also develop some kind of aggressive and repulsive behavior which makes it difficult to control them.
The most specific causes of this condition have not been fully established in the past medical records and diagnoses. The most reliable sources argue out that the disease is caused by tangles and plague in the brain (Harris 102). The two factors are yet to be studied in detail in terms of whether they are indeed responsible for this kind of ill-health or not.
Currently, there are still wide array of opportunities through which more specialized studies can be undertaken to examine the etiology, prevalence, treatment and cure of the disease. It is true that there is no particular cure for this disease.
It has proven to be quite difficult to reverse its occurrence which usually culminates into full blown Alzheimer (Lau and Berg 163). It is worth noting that exercises conducted with the aim of stimulating the mind remain as a major way of helping victims. It is clear that patients have to depend on the care of others.
As pointed out earlier, the exact cause of Alzheimer is not clear yet. There are many hypotheses which have been put across in an attempt to explore dominant cause or causes of Alzheimer. It is important to look in to each of these studies in a bid to come up with a significant and conclusive understanding of the condition.
The oldest known hypothesis that attempted to examine the cause of Alzheimer claim is that of the neurotransmitter agent in neurons (Warner 198). The latter explains that a problem in acetylcholine which is the neurotransmitter between neuron synapses is responsible for breakdowns towards the smooth flow of communication. This condition has not been able to receive any amicable repair and hence remains a protracted medical and health challenge (Warner 123).
Another hypothesis on the etiology of this disease is that which relates amyloids to Alzheimer. According to the latter hypothetical medical study, it has been exemplified that the presence of deposits of amyloidal cells is the major cause of Alzheimer.
This postulation is equally supported by the fact that amyloidal deposits lead to the creation of excess gene copies (Brill 78). Some of the genes include the mutant and trilogy communication genes which often cause plagues right inside the brain. Oxidative stress is also linked with the perpetration of dementia.
This creates a path for the pathogenesis of the disease. Loss of brain cells has also been associated with the condition (Green 218). Degeneration of glial cells (brain cells) also culminates into increase in chances of the disease condition. This might be as a result of faulty phagocytosis or accumulation of bi products of oxidation. The latter products are largely considered to be toxic to the brain and may cause long term health complications.
The diagnosis of Alzheimer
This disease is diagnosed by following the history of victims in terms of their past health records. It may entail all clinical observations of relatives of the identified patient. This is normally aimed at noticing any features which may be a proof of the disease. The screening techniques used in this case help in identifying all traces of malfunctioning cells in the brain (Harris 68).
Moreover, cerebral scans help in auditing all cases of impairments as well as cognition abilities. On top of this, the intellectual functioning of an individual is also assessed. In most cases, the occurrence of a total diagnosis is only possible during post mortem activities. This is useful in standardizing the procedures of diagnosis (Lau and Berg 203).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been able to give clear guidelines on how this malady can be identified and managed thereafter (Warner 134).
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It entails testing of all neuropsychological impairments together with microscopic examination of biopsy brain tissues. The final definitive stage of diagnosis is the examination of all cognitive aspects of a suspected victim. These include problem solving abilities, functional ability, orientation, construction ability, attention, perpetual skills and overall strength of a patient’s memory (Green 245).
The most reliable technique used in examination is referred to as the mental state examination (MSE). This has been optimized in order to ensure that results are reliable. It gives a combination of both normal and neurological examinations.
Defensive mechanisms against this disease are yet to be put in place. Work towards the establishment of a specific particular measure is still under way.
Studies in the current medical practices have indeed offered some promising results in establishment prevention of Alzheimer disease (Harris 146). This entails balancing of factors that are linked with the occurrence of the disease. They include intellectual exercises, diet and proper individual care in the use of pharmaceutical products. If balance is maintained in the above areas, it becomes possible to curb the likelihood of the occurrence of Alzheimer.
Behavioral and vascular related factors such as smoking and hypertension also have a large part to play in this disease (Warner 102). It is possible to stop the risk factors by being careful of one’s health. In addition, uptake of cholesterol should be controlled. It is important for individuals to take healthy diets regardless of what they are used to. Alcohol should also be minimized although there is no particular limit which can be regarded to be completely safe.
At this point, it is worth to mention that people who are very active in terms of social interactions and playing brain games have a reduced risk of Alzheimer (Brill 243). This is explained by the theory of cognitive reservation. It is definite that mental activities tend to ‘play around’ with an individual’s brain in order to keep it sober enough in readiness to face challenges in life.
Pharmaceutical treatment is done to control the disease. There are several medications which are used to treat manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease. They are either based on correcting the fault of acetylcholine or receptors of boosting the mental activities of a patient (Warner 225). When the disease is full blown, there is no particular drug which can manage it. Reducing the effect of failing acetylcholine is the main significant activity known to affect this disease significantly (Lau and Berg 197).
Death of neurons is detected early enough to ensure that corrective measures are put in place before irreparable damage occurs in the brain. When a sufferer reaches high level of cognition impairments, medication is directed towards delaying the possible onset of the disease. Psychosocial interventions are also done. These are administered together with the above mentioned pharmaceutical treatments.
They include stimulation approaches, cognition boosters, emotional activators and behavioral modification (Brill 253). They are focused on rehabilitating the patient back to their normal lifestyle. Behavioral interventions reduce occurrences of abnormal behavior. This approach becomes successful when it is incorporated with aids of causing overall improvement of one’s condition. Most psychosocial therapies are based on the data obtained about a give customer.
On the other hand, emotional treatment is based on validation of lost sensory system. It is used to rehabilitate a person’s lost ability to define presence according to normal conditions. The treatment is aimed at helping such patients to call past events by comparing them with current ones. The validation therapy gives a patient an experience of what is true based on his or her senses. All these therapies are believed to be helpful although there is no enough proof of their working mechanisms.
The main aim of managing the disease is to bring back one’s ability to realize what is happening at a given period of time (Green 213). It includes providing information on the time and other realities which surround the capacities of a patient suffering from Alzheimer. Efficacy of improving cognition has recorded desirable results which are useful to both caregivers and the patient.
Giving care is essential to patients suffering from this health complication. It is evident that Alzheimer has no specific cure or treatment. This condition makes people unable to take care of themselves. It incapacitates individuals as time goes by. There are instances when a person becomes totally unable to do anything for themselves.
Given the effects of the disease, care giving is not optional here. Family members must ensure that the sufferer gets consistent care throughout their life time. This is done in all stages of the disease. The major goal of care giving is ensuring the safety of the patient. This is done through modification of the environment in which the person lives (Wagner 211). It reduces the burden of taking care of the person who has this particular disease.
Environmental modification entails the use of safety padlocks, placing important objects strategically and simplifying routine activities of the victim. In some cases, people are unable to feed themselves. Ethical issues crop up in the whole exercise of caring for a victim of Alzheimer.
These persons are highly vulnerable to being implicated by caregivers who may have ill motives. It is therefore important to come up with a good criterion for selecting a reliable care giver for your victim. Research reveals that individuals should be taught to take care of their own relatives because they have close links with them.
It is not easy to identify or rather diagnose the disease when it is at its early stages of development. The most reliable time to tell whether the disease has reached a critical stage is when cognitive impairments are noticed (Green 167).
At first, a person lives a normal life and it cannot be easy to explain the medical condition that a patient has gone through. In addition, symptoms progress towards a period of memory loss is indeed a mark of fatal Alzheimer. At the stage when it is impossible to live independently, everyone is convinced that the patient who suffers from Alzheimer needs total attention.
Life expectancy of persons living with the disease is always below 15 years of age (Brill 234). The disease is characterized by very low chances of survival for any person regardless of the choices they make in life. Medication is done to make sure that patients remain stable.
In other words, chances of survival beyond fifteen years are very minimal. Men will often have a shorter lifespan when diagnosed with the malady compared to women (Lau and Berg 254). The disease usually has a death risk of 70% among all the affected patients.
There are several future prospects in relation to this disease.
The efficacy of medical treatment of Alzheimer is yet to be made stable. More clinical trials need to be done in accordance with the developmental stages of the sickness. One of the most promising paths to take is that of pursuing immunotherapy. Clinical research ought to be focused towards the area of halting the pathogenesis of the disease. Besides, step by step inventions have to be followed in order to ensure that Alzheimer does not continue to incapacitate the population.
Brill, Marlene. Alzheimer’s Disease. New York: Benchmark Books, 2005. Print.
Green, Robert . Diagnosis and Management of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. New York: Professional Comunications, 2005. Print.
Harris, Phyllis. The Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Pathways to Understanding the Experience. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. Print.
Lau, Lit-Fui and Stefan, Berg. Alzheimer’s Disease. Berlin: Springer, 2009. Print.
Warner, Morton. Alzheimer’s Disease: Policy and Practice Across Europe. Abingdon: Radcliffe Medical Press, 2002. Print.