Alzheimer's Disease

By: Sarah McMaster

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's is a disease that affects the brain and the nervous system. This happens when nerve cells, located in the brain, die. It gets worse overtime and is a form of dementia.

Discovery

The disorder was first discovered in 1906, by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. He was a German physician who presented his case to a 51-year-old women who suffered from the disorder before a medical meeting.

How is it inherited?

When inherited it is a dominant trait and is most common fro people ages 65 and up. It it caused by mutations in genes found on chromosomes 1, 14, and 21. Alzheimer's is most likely to occur in older people, but in rare cases it will affect the younger generation.

Symptoms

  • Memory loss that affects the person's job skills. (short-term memory loss is the most common)
  • Difficulty doing everyday tasks.
  • Problems with speaking.
  • Not knowing the time and/or place.
  • Poor judgement on situations.
  • Forgetting where you put objects.
  • Changes in mood or behavior.
  • Not having the same personality.
  • Doesn't want to do much of anything.
  • Doesn't know who people are; even people they know well. (children or spouses)
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Diagnostic Tests

  1. Complete Health History - This may include questions about overall health and past health problems. Whomever is giving the test will see how well the patient can do daily tasks.
  2. Mental Status Test - Test includes memory, problem solving, attention, counting and language.
  3. Standard Medical Test - Includes blood and urine tests to find possible causes of the problem.
  4. Brain Imaging Test - CT, MRI, or position emission tomography may be used to rule or other causes of the problem.

Single Gene Mutation

The early-onset form of Alzheimer's Disease is inherited in an autosomal disorder, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause disorder. In most cases an affected person inherits the altered gene from an affected parent.
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Can you prevent Alzheimer's?

Because doctors don't know what causes the disease, they can't recommend any steps to prevent it. But some medicines are available to help manage some of the most troubling symptoms. They could could help with Depression, Behavior Problems, and Sleep Problems.

How do I prevent the risk?

You can't prevent it completely, but you can start when you are younger and lessen the risk. You can do this by eating healthier. Fruit is a big part in preventing the risk. Also if you are a little older, you can start exercising your brain more. It is much better if you start this when you are younger and has a less risk to begin with.

Life Expectancy

This disorder doesn't have a life expectancy but, Alzheimer's is a progressive disease. Their memory problems and problems with doing tasks will get much worse. Even though this disease affects everyone differently they all have mood problems making it difficult for family to care for them. Families might have to get personal care for the diseases family member or spouse. If you have advanced Alzheimer's you will most likely need to put them in help centers that specialize in the care of people with memory disorders.
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Support Groups

http://alz.org/ or Alzheimer's Association has a vision for there not to be Alzheimer's disease in the world. Their mission is to "eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. They collect donations through their website to help them research more and to be closer to finding a cure.

Why purple?

The color purple symbolizes mystery, and Alzheimer’s is indeed a mysterious disease. Researchers have learned much about the disease, but cannot solve the mystery of how to cure or prevent the disease. Purple represents magic, and associations are ready for that magical moment when they live in a world without Alzheimer’s. Also, purple is a combination of red (the warmest color) and blue (the coolest color). The color spectrum extremes could be compared to the emotional turmoil Alzheimer’s takes on the family of a person with Alzheimer’s