The second most feared disease behind cancer
What is Alzheimer's Disease?
Why did I choose this Disease?
The reason that I researched alzheimers, is because my great grandmother has it. She is 94 years old, and developed alzheimers in her 90’s. She has mild alzheimers, and has all of the symptoms of it. She lives on her own, but my uncle checks in on her a lot to help her do things during the day. She has a lot of trouble recognizing a lot of my family, and gets a lot of people confused. She has trouble with language also, and she sometimes speaks in french and sometimes speaks in english, and my uncle has to translate for everyone. She also has delusions and hallucinations. A few months ago she thought people were coming into her house and singing in her living room at night. She had to have an alarm system installed so she would feel safer in her house, but she still thought people were coming into her house. She also has most of the other symptoms of moderate alzheimer’s disease.
What Parts of the Body are Affected by Alzheimer's?
- The central nervous system
- The digestive system
- The neuromuscular system
When you have alzheimer's, this disease takes over the part of your brain that controls thinking. Ellen Bialystok, a psychologist at York University in Toronto, Canada says, “the basis for your ability to think in complex ways, control attention, and do everything we think of as uniquely human thought."
So, when someone has alzheimers, it affects a lot of what they do daily, especially since the brain controls everything you do. People who are affected by alzheimer's usually have difficulty or need help doing normal everyday tasks.
Who is Affected by it?
Any gender can be affected by alzheimer's, but women have a higher genetic risk of developing it. Any race can also be affected by alzheimer's, but some studuies show that African Americans have a higher risk of developing the disease.
How Does This Condition Arise?
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
Memory problems are usually one of the first signs of the development of alzheimer’s disease. A decline in other aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are many symptoms of alzheimer’s disease, and four different stages of it. There is mild, moderate, severe and the end stage of alzheimer's disease.
Mild Alzheimer's Disease
Symptoms of mild AD can include the following;
Confusion about the location of familiar places
Taking longer to accomplish normal, daily tasks
Trouble handling money and paying bills
Compromised judgment, often leading to bad decisions
Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Mood and personality changes; increased anxiety
Moderate Alzheimer's Disease
Symptoms of moderate AD can include the following;
Increasing memory loss and confusion
Shortened attention span
Problems recognizing friends and family members
Difficulty with language; problems with reading, writing, working with numbers
Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically
Inability to learn new things or to cope with new or unexpected situations
Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, fearfulness, wandering, especially in the late afternoon or at night
Repetitive statements or movement; occasional muscle twitches
- Hallucinations, delusions, suspiciousness or paranoia, irritability
Loss of impulse control: Shown through behavior such as undressing at inappropriate times or places or vulgar language
- Perceptual-motor problems: Such as trouble getting out of a chair or setting the table
Severe Alzheimer's Disease
Symptoms of severe AD can include the following;
Patients with severe AD cannot recognize family or loved ones and cannot communicate in any way. They are completely dependent on others for care, and all sense of self seems to vanish.
Seizures, skin infections, difficulty swallowing
Groaning, moaning, or grunting
- Lack of bladder and bowel control
End Stage Alzheimer's
How is Alzheimer's Diagnosed?
Means of diagnosing AD include the following:
Lumbar puncture: levels of tau and phosphorylated tau in the cerebrospinal fluid are often raised in AD, but amyloid levels are usually low; at present, however, routine measurement of CSF tau and amyloid is not recommended except in research settings.
- Imaging studies: Imaging studies are particularly important for ruling out potentially treatable causes of progressive cognitive decline, such as chronic subdural hematoma or normal-pressure hydrocephalus
- The family or friends of the person can usually suspect the onset of alzheimer's, by how they're acting. there are many signs that show someone is developing alzheimer's.
What is the Treatment of Alzheimer's?
There is treatment that does not get rid of the disease, or stop it, but the goals of it are to:
Slow the progression of the disease (although this is difficult to do)
Manage symptoms, such as behavior problems, confusion, and sleep problems
Change your home environment so you can better perform daily activities
Support family members and other caregivers
- Medicines are used to help slow down the rate of symptoms becoming worse. The benefit from these drugs is usually small. The patient and their family might not notice a lot of change.
What is the Prognosis of Alzheimer's?
Most people get alzheimer’s in their 60’s, but the age can range much higher, to a different type of alzheimer's that people can get in their 30’s. The people who have that rare type of alzheimer's, could have much less time to live than people with normal alzheimer’s. If the disease gets severe, there isn’t any way to tell how long that can take, then they can die quickly after they are diagnosed, or a very long time. If someone lives with alzheimer’s, the disease may never get bad, and the patient may not die from it.
The people who die from this disease usually have severe alzheimer's disease, or are in end stage alzheimer’s.
If someone does die from alzheimer’s, they would have to have sever alzheimer's, or be in the end stage. If someone has end stage alzheimer's, they will be in bed a lot of the time, and you will usually die from another disease.
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