Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment – Alzheimer’s Disease

Introduction

Alzheimer has long been associated with aging that is not the case. However, most people who have the disease are over 65 but some incidences of the disease have been noted among people who are in their forties and fifties (Hampel et al., 2010). In the forties, the condition is termed as early onset. It is also referred to as the younger onset.

Alzheimer is a disease named after Alois Alzheimer, who discovered it. There many people affected by the disease especially in developed countries like United Kingdom where the statistics are over 520000. As the illness progresses proteins increase in the brain and eventually leads to the formation of tangles and plaques. The formation leads to reduced or no connection among the nerve cells, and consequently the nerve cells die, and brain tissue degenerate eventually. Besides, there is a loss of vital chemicals in the brain, which help in the transmission of messages in the brain. Various treatments have contributed to increasing the necessary chemicals, which assist in restoring the transmission of signals in the brain. Therefore, the destruction of the different cells in the brain affects the memory whereby one loses touch with reality and sometimes may have cognitive difficulties.

Symptoms

The disease does not affect all people the same way. Different people, therefore, have different experiences and signs of the disease. Some of the common symptoms are memory lapses. The onset symptom of the illness is memory loss. As such, the person may have difficulty recalling recent happenings and in learning anything new. The symptoms result because of the damage to the part of the brain, which deals with the daily functions of the memory. As such, a person does not have a recollection of what happened recently or in days past or the day. Such a condition of memory loss of daily or recent happenings is referred to as hippocampus. The patients can still recall events that happened long ago.

Some of the signs that follow memory lose overtime are forgetting events that were done in the past. The events are usually occupational or family-related and includes among others anniversaries and appointments, getting lost quickly in surroundings that are familiar, remembering recent events or conversations, having difficulty in constructing sentences while engaging in discussions and losing things in the house. The disease, as a result, hurts perception, communication, reasoning, and thinking, which help a person live usually. The gradual nature of Alzheimer means that the brain is damaged slowly and the symptoms, as a result, increase proportionately.

Diagnosis

Doctors in diagnosing Alzheimer conduct various tests and evaluate various symptoms related to the disease. The doctor will assess the patient on the issue of memory loss, which is the central symptom of the disease (Lu & Bludau, 2010). They will examine personality or behavioral changes, impaired thinking or memory skills. The doctors and neurologist may conduct further tests in the laboratory like memory testing or brain imaging. The doctors in performing other tests may want to rule out any other conditions like depression, Parkinson’s disease, and past strokes. In testing the memory, the doctors employ the use of neuropsychological and mental testing. It means that some diseases have similar conditions and the people suffering from such conditions may not be necessarily suffering from Alzheimer. The testing includes the family members in terms of testing whether the patient remembers any notable activities that happened while he was with the family. The diagnosis is thus important in examining patients to come out with concrete outcomes that state whether the patient has Alzheimer or not.

Treatment

At present, no conclusive treatment has been found for Alzheimer disease. Some of the treatment helps in lessening the various symptoms of the disease. As such, the procedures deal with alleviating the symptoms associated with Alzheimer. It helps in boosting the brain functions especially in dealing with memory lapses. Various drugs like cholinesterase inhibitors are used in reducing the symptoms of memory loss by reviving communication between cells in the brain that had been hampered by the destruction of brain cells (Agronin & Maletta, 2011). Meantime is another drug that boosts brain cell communication. Patients with Alzheimer have problems with their sleeping. Though people have sleep, disorders they become extreme when one has Alzheimer disease. The sleep problems can be with or without drugs. The non-drug option is mostly encouraged by physicians that include regular meal times, sunlight exposure, and regular exercise.

Other solutions that help in dealing with Alzheimer are like regular and daily exercise, have proper and healthy diet. Exercise is beneficial in that it helps the person have enough sleep. The people, as a result, need to eat essential goods that will help boost their immunity and lessen the various signs associated with the disease.

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