According to Stern, Alzheimer’s disorder is a neurological condition that destroys brain cells, resulting in memory loss and cognitive impairment. According to Tariot (98), this is the most prevalent form of dementia. According to recent reports, 5.3 million Americans of all ages suffer from this psychiatric illness. 5.1 million of the 5.3 million patients are 65 and over, with only 200, 000 victims being under the age of 65. This aim paper will go through the causes, signs and symptoms, examinations and diagnosis, and eventually medication for Alzheimer’s disease.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
Tariot further notes that every 67 seconds, someone in the US develops the disease. Shockingly, this is the only unpreventable, incurable and un-slowed disease that ranks among the top ten causes of death in the United States of America. According to Stern, approximately 1 in every 3 senior citizens die of the disease. Adds that out the 5.3 million persons living with this neurological disease, two-thirds are women. Just like other types of dementia, Alzheimer is caused by the gradual damage to brain cells.
This is, therefore, a neurodegenerative ailment. Alzheimer causes shrinking of brain cells making the brain tissues to have fewer nerve cells and connections. Although testing of living brain cells for damaged nerve cells and connections is impractical, postmortems often show tiny inclusions in the nerve tissue, often referred to as tangles and plagues (70).
Hirai states that the symptoms of Alzheimer can be diagnosed at any stage, and then preceded by close monitoring. However, their nature can be confusing both to the patient as well as people around him or her. This confusion is often due to variation in the symptoms depending on the severity and could necessitate multiple tests (11). It is, therefore, recommended to seek the help of a doctor.
The main symptoms entail mental or behavioral symptoms that point to a decline in the previous levels of performance and functioning; both at work and in daily activities. According to the National Institute on aging and the Alzheimer Association, the decline in cognitive ability should be at least cover two of the following symptom areas: worsened ability to take in and recall new information; impaired reasoning and judgment in complex activities; impairment of visuospatial ability; impairment in reading, speaking and writing; and lastly changes in behavior and one personality (Stern 71-72).
Prevention and Treatment
Alzheimer disease does not have a known cure. This is because the damage to brain cells is irreversible, and cannot be altered. The main intervention is an intensive therapy that aims at enabling the patient to ably live with the condition (Tariot).
Hirai, Shunsaku. “Alzheimer Disease: Current Therapy And Future Therapeutic Strategies.” Alzheimer Disease And Associated Disorders, vol 14, no. Supplement, 2000, pp. S11-S17. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), doi: 10.1097/00002093-200000001-00003.
Stern, Yaakov. “Cognitive Reserve And Alzheimer Disease.” Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, vol 20, no. Supplement 2, 2006, pp. S69-S74. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), doi: 101097/00002093-200607001-00010.
Tariot, Pierre N. “Alzheimer Disease: Current Challenges, Emerging Treatments.” Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, vol 17, no. SUPPLEMENT 4, 2003, p. S98. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), doi: 101097/00002093-200307004-00003.