Alzheimer's Disease

By: Tiffany Villacres, Dayanara Gonzalez, & Gisell Martinez

What is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disease that eliminates the ability to perform essential ordinary brain functions over time. It impedes the recollection of events, the ability to think analytically, and the ability to conduct simple tasks. It falls under the category of dementia, a term utilized to describe loss of mental skills.

Causes?

In this fatal disease, nerve endings in the cerebral cortex deteriorate and block impulses between neurons. It is also hereditary.

Symptoms?

The first stage of Alzheimer’s disease includes minor cases of memory loss. The patient may forget simple things, such as the misplacement of an item frequently or getting lost in a familiar area. The patient may also feel anxious and a bit antisocial. Poor judgment is also seen often in most cases of mild Alzheimer’s disease. Making reminder lists greatly assists in reminding the patient information. Stage one of Alzheimer’s may last from one to four years until further progression.



The second stage of Alzheimer’s is responsible for an increase in memory loss. There is more of a struggle to communicate with others as well as remembering familiar faces, such as family or close friends. Motor and logic problems are also common. They may lose the ability to learn new things, carry out simple tasks with multiple steps, or cope with new situations. Hallucinations are often seen as well as impulsive behavior. Language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought are moderately impaired. This stage may last from two to ten years.



The third stage of Alzheimer’s disease involves the inability to recognize oneself. It is much more severe than stage one and stage two of Alzheimer’s. The patient may decrease in weight, experience seizures (uncontrolled electrical activity within the brain), sudden mood swings, and aphasia (loss of speech). Plaques and tangles have now pervaded throughout the brain and the size of brain tissue shrinks excessively. Those with severe Alzheimer’s struggle immensely with communicating with others and are dependent for their care. The final stage often results in death.

Treatments?

There is no cure for Alzheimers. There are, however, treatments to regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters. Mental activities such as the completion of word puzzles and quizzes are said to play an important role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. A consistent exercise routine and a healthy diet are also said by researchers to assist in the prevention and/or combat of Alzheimer’s.

Prognosis?

The patient with Alzheimer's disease will eventually die.