Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease of the human brain that is characterized by impairment of memory and a disturbance in at least one other thinking function.
Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia that affects the brain and the people’s’ home and family life. When we hear about Alzheimer’s disease we tend to think of older people. This is because this disease most often occurs in adults after the age of 65.
Alzheimer’s disease not only affects the sufferer but also the surrounding friends and family of the sufferer.Educating people about the disease and how to notice the symptoms will help people avoid getting diagnosed too late. Alzheimer’s has many complications to the different parts of the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease shows difficulty in diagnosis, life-altering symptoms and memory prolonging treatments, and hope for an official cure. This makes the learning about the disease much more important to the world. The education of sufferers and families afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease benefits not only those directly involved but also society as a whole.The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is considered to be a diagnosis of elimination. This is because there is no exact test to determine if you have Alzheimer’s disease. However, many other test will be made to rule out other diseases. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease which is also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. (“What is Alzheimer’s 1).
The person’s age will help the doctor determine if the patient has Alzheimer’s disease. Medical experts will check your family history to check if your parents had or have Alzheimer’s disease. This is because if any of your family members have or had Alzheimer’s then you have an increased chance of having the disease. This shows why finding out about Alzheimer’s disease and checking your family medical history will benefit people around the world. The diagnosing of Alzheimer’s disease is a very long and complicated process because of the fact that it is so difficult to diagnose it.
Many tests to get an accurate estimation of where your current health is and where it could be leading to in the future. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, and is likely to check your overall neurological health by testing your reflexes, muscle tone and strength, ability to get up from a chair and walk across the room, sense of sight and hearing, coordination and balance. (Grabowski 1). Slight everyday tasks that should be easy for the average person can give the medical expert information about whether you can be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and what stage of the disease you are in at the time of the visit. Even though Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, there are other ways memory loss can happen.
Many people automatically assume that their memory loss is Alzheimer’s disease. This is why diagnosing people at the earliest time possible is very important. Health experts say that a greatly skilled physician can diagnose someone with Alzheimer’s within 90 days. This shows the importance of looking for someone other than your primary doctor because it is common for regular doctors to not be able to diagnose you. Finding someone outside of your primary doctor such as a physician or neurologist makes it easier for people to find out if they have Alzheimer’s. The early stages of Alzheimer’s disease consists of short term memory loss.
A mutation of a single gene is one condition that is found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Inherited mutations in some genes and several non?genetic risk factors, such as brain trauma, infections, cardiovascular diseases, mitochondrial dysfunction, aging and age?dependent stress, have been listed in the etiology of Alzheimer’s. The current studies also indicate that blood flow restriction, inflammation, and free radicals are also implicated in the causation of this disease. The number one indicator of Alzheimer’s is a gene called apolipoproteinE (apoE).
There are three forms of this gene, but apoE 4 is the one that is most closely related to Alzheimer’s sufferers. (Chuyi 583). A person’s other medical issues can greatly affect the chance of them getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Anything that can inflict a person with memory loss or decreases the size of the patient’s brain. Eating too many carbs and too much sugar for too long leads to chronically high blood sugar levels. Imaging studies show that chronic high blood sugar, at levels that are medically considered “normal,” contribute to shrinkage of the brain. Older people with hypertension (long considered a major risk factor for heart disease), for instance, have a 300 percent increased risk for Alzheimer’s. (Bowden 2). The high blood sugar and heart problems have a big impact in the effect of Alzheimer’s symptoms. This is because many heart issues enhance the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease usually end up in nursing homes or hospice care centers, because as the disease progresses to its later stages, the patient typically becomes unable to care for themselves and is required to have constant care from a caregiver.
There are places in many countries that are called memory clinics. These were developed to make the early diagnosis and treatments of possible dementia patients. Many patients went to memory clinics with early stages of Alzheimer’s or possible dementia. (Iqbal 123).There are a big variety of symptoms that come along with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a disease where symptoms gradually gets worse over a number of years.
During the beginning years memory loss is mild, but with the later stages of Alzheimer’s, people lose the ability to continue a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. People affected by Alzheimer’s disease live an average of eight years after the awareness of their symptoms to others, but survival can differ from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions. Dementia ranges in different stages and how severe they are from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s ability to function, to the latest stage which is the most severe because the person must depend completely on others for help with their basic activities of daily living.People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem.
Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. There is an emotional side of the disease that may be just as important, especially to the friends and family members who are caregivers to the patient.. On the negative side, Alzheimer’s sufferers may have feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, fear, and loneliness. On the positive side, they may feel very composed and joyful. This shows why the symptoms don’t only just affect the sufferer themselves, but the family, friends and caregiver around the sufferer.
In the mild stage of Alzheimer’s a person may function independently. He or she may still drive, work and be part of social activities. Despite this, the person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects. There are many symptoms that come with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. These include having problems coming up with the right word or name, trouble remembering names when introduced to new people, has trouble performing tasks in social or work settings, forgetting something that they have just read, losing or misplacing a valuable object and having increasing trouble with organizing or planning.
The middle, or moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease is usually the longest stage and can last for many years. As the disease progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s will require an increasing level of care. Family or friends may notice the person with Alzheimer’s confusing words, getting angry or frustrated, or acting in unexpected ways such as refusing to bathe. This is the stage of the disease where surrounding people with start to notice symptoms. The sufferer may be confused about where they are or what day it is, an increased risk of wandering around and becoming lost, personality and behavioral changes including suspiciousness and delusions or repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding, and needing help choosing proper clothing. In the final stage which is the most severe stage of this disease individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually to control their own movement. They may still say words or sentences, but communicating pain becomes difficult for the patient. As memory and cognitive skills continue to get worse, very important and noticeable personality changes may take place and individuals need extra help with daily activities, need around the clock attention and assistance with daily routines and personal care, lose awareness of recent experiences and of their surroundings.
The sufferer may also experience changes in physical abilities, including the ability to walk, sit and, eventually can possibly forget how to swallow, have increasing trouble communicating, and have a chance to get infections, such as pneumonia. There is no confirmed exact way to treat Alzheimer’s, but there are a few methods to maintain the patient’s brain awareness and memory. Alzheimer’s is a genetic disease, so it’s based off of how people’s genes react to the environment. This makes it very difficult to find a full treatment for the disease.
A big problem that is believed to have a cause in Alzheimer’s disease is stress and anxiety. With respect to treatment, they advised patients to reduce stress (89 percent), get more exercise (89 percent) and develop better sleeping habits (87%). Physicians were nearly three times more likely to treat patients with vitamins and herbal supplements than prescription drugs and six times more likely to recommend supplements than to make referrals to specialists.
(“Stress, Senior Moments” 3). This shows just different feelings and everyday issues can affect the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Medication can be given out by doctors, but it will most likely only be during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or immediately after the diagnosis. The earliest stages of Alzheimer’s is the most important time for patients to take medication to decrease the amount of memory loss. In some cases people are found with agitation and to calm a patient’s agitation doctors often prescribe them antipsychotic drugs.
In different cases of Alzheimer’s patients are found suffering from depression which usually a mild depression that is treated with antidepressants. Anxiety is the last disturbance that is found in Alzheimer’s and it occurs in about half of the cases, but most patients do not require medication to treat their anxiety. It is starting to be believed that the early diagnosis can be discovered by an eye scanning test called the Cognoptix test. The Cognoptix test is positioned to change the way Alzheimer’s patients are identified and treated. There is a significant need today for a low-cost, point-of-care test to help differentiate people who have Alzheimer’s pathology from those who don’t to more effectively manage the treatment and care of those with the disease, and to avoid costly diagnostic procedures. The impact of such a test could be profound for the patients, their families, and caregivers.
(Hartung 70). This will change society greatly if this is found as the first official treatment. Sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease might find themselves having trouble sleeping or have to change around their sleep schedule. The scientific reason is unknown but it is thought that the decreasing memory and behavior will also affect the time the person begins to feel tired.
There is proof that changes in sleep are more common in later stages of the disease, but some studies have also found them in early stages. Sufferers who have trouble sleeping may wander, be unable to lie still, or yell or call out at random times, interrupting the sleep of their family or carer. Individuals may feel very tired during the day and then be unable to sleep at night.
They may also become restless or agitated later in the afternoon or early in the morning. While treatments are available that can ameliorate some symptoms of the illness, there is no cure or disease-modifying therapy currently available, and the disease inevitably progresses in all patients. (Cuttler 1). Finding treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has been a very important goal in the medical world for a long time.
Even though there are new treatments being made there are many concerns about using the medication that come with them. The constant scientific research required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the approval of a prescription drug is not required by law for the marketing of dietary supplements. The person who creates the dietary supplements is not required to provide the FDA with the evidence they base its claims for safety and effectiveness. These new treatments are usually not able to be used because of the concerns in drugs.
Alzheimer’s disease is a worldwide disease that affects many individuals and their surrounding family members and friends. The disease however is incredibly life-changing being so difficult for even medical experts to diagnose. The symptoms of the disease affect everyone around the sufferer and also get gradually worse over time. There is no currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there is a few treatments that may help the sufferer maintain their brain’s memory and have to keep stress levels low just to make sure their awareness doesn’t fade away.
Educating the world on their own family history and the complications of Alzheimer’s disease will help society be more aware and also may increase the amount of research for a cure.