Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer’s diseases is a neuro-degenerative disease that often occurs in people over the the age of 65. Dementia is responsible for 60% or the cases of Alzheimer’s disease.  Dementia is a group of symptoms that cause loss of mental and cognitive skills, such as motor skills, intellectual functions.There symptoms of Alzheimer’s are decreased cognitive performance and reduced ability to carrying on daily activities, affecting a persons memory, thinking, speech and language skills. Alzheimer affects the neuro-psychological behavior of a person as well. The disease attacks the brain’s nerve cell. Today the cause of Alzheimer is not fully understood. ApoE, a gene variant seems to create the increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at a rate of 30%.  The nerve cells, that are attacked, produce brain chemicals and are neurotransmitters or actylcholine, In Alzheimer’s, the nerve cells in the hippocampus are destroyed so  language and judgement skills begin to decline with the neurons die in the cerebral cortex.

Alzheimer’s disease forms lesions on the brain. it forms two different types of abnormal lesions that will clog the brain neural pathways. The first one is the Beta-amyloid plaques, that are cellular material and  sticky globs of protein fragments that form around the neurons and outside the neurons. The second type of lesion is the neuro-fibrillary tangle, which is a insoluble twisted group of fiber  of protein that builds inside nerve cells. Although these lesions are common among cases of Alzheimer’s disease, scientist are not clear whether these lesions cause the disease or are a byproduct of the disease.

Research should that feeling,forgetful may may be cause for concern as a study on seniors indicated that subjective memory complaints over many years, 4.5 more lily to develop mild cognitive impairment or dementia than those who do not have memory complaints. It’s important to pay attention to signs that could indicate early dementia. Although it’s common to forget a name or a lunch date, here and there, someone with signs of dementia may repeatedly foget a name or plans, and forget about the inside soon after. They may forget what happened the previous evening.

There are 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms in the same time or rate. This system was based on the work done by Barry Reisberg, The clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.

The Seven Stages are:http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-image31703426

  1.  Normal function with no impairment. The person will not experience any affect of the disease. There is full motor and cognitive skills. There are no symptoms of dementia and evaluation done by a medical professional will not show and evidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. There is very mild or little cognitive decline. This may be normal age-related change, that happens a people grow order. Or this could be the earliest sign of Alzheimer disease. The person may feel that they can not remember certain things or are having lapse in memory. Forgetting familiar words or locations and everyday object. Although there are no symptoms of dementia that can be detected by anyone.
  3. There is mild declined in cognitive abilities, early stage Alzheimer’s can be sometimes diagnosed, but not for everyone. This stage also introduces more visible symptoms. During a medical interview a doctor would be able to detect concentration and memory problems. There are noticeable problems with remembering words and names. There is trouble remembering names when you are introducing familiar people. They could lose an misplace valuables, or forget the material that they have just read. They may be unable to plan or organize. They may not be able to carry out social task.
  4.  At this stage there is moderate cognitive decline and mild or early stage Alzheimer’s disease. The medical interview will indicate clear symptoms of memory loss, forgetting recent events. The inability to perform challenging metal task, or counting backward or by 7’s. There is difficulty planning dinner or paying bills, managing finances, Forgetting things that happened to you. The person could be moody or withdrawn – not wanting to be in social situations.
  5. At this stage there is moderately severe cognitive decline  and mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The person will experience  noticeable gaps in their memory. They will need help for day-to-day task. The will be unable to recall their home address or phone number, high school they graduated form. They will have trouble adding and subtracting basic numbers, they will be confused about the day. The may need help choosing appropriate clothing, they will still remember significant details about themselves and family members. They do not need assistance going to the bathroom or eating.
  6. At this point they have severe cognitive decline and moderate severe Alzheimer’s disease. The memory continues to worsens  and personality changes take place, they will need extensive help to take care of daily activities. They will lose awareness of recent experiences and surroundings. They will have difficulty remembering personal history, but remember heir name. They can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces. Need help dressing sometimes, may put on wrong clothes. They may change their sleep pattern. They will become restless. They will need help handling going to the bathroom. They may not wipe or dispose tissue properly. They will have trouble controlling their bowls or bladder.They experience changes in personality and behavior, becoming more delusion-ed and suspicious, as well as exhibit compulsive behavior . They can wander and and become lost.
  7. The last stage will show very severe cognitive decline and this is considered late stage Alzheimer’s disease. The final stage the individual lose the ability to respond to the environment and carry any conversation control of movement. They may say words or phrases. The person will need help with all daily task, eating and using the toilet. They may lose the ability to show emotion or sit up without support. The muscles grow rigid and swallowing impaired.

At this point a person with  Alzheimer’s disease will need a full-time care giver. Alzheimer’s disease is very complez and there has not been a cure or treatment found that can delay, prevent or cure it at this pint.There are four different medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Alzheimer’s at this point. Donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), or galantamine (Razadyne®) are used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s (donepezil can be used for severe Alzheimer’s as well). Memantine (Namenda®), is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.

These drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills, and may help with certain behavioral problems. However, these drugs don’t change the underlying disease process, are effective for some but not all people, and may help only for a limited time.