Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia or memory loss, which is caused by the death of the brain cells that usually occurs gradually, during some time. There are many causes of Alzheimer’s disorder, and the main risk factor here is the person’s age. Thus, by the statistics, each one in three people after 85 years old is predisposed and may have Alzheimer’s disease (“Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease,” 2017). In this regard, the risk factors include various lifestyle, genetic, or environmental issues. The changes that occur in the human brain when the person gets older may be inflammation, atrophy of brain cells, development of free radicals, and other factors. Besides that, genetic factors are among the main ones in the emergence of the disorder. The first symptoms that become the evidence of the disease are the increasing forgetfulness and mental confusion in minor issues. With time, the person starts forgetting more and more things, especially the ones related to the recent events. With Alzheimer’s disease, the individual begins experiencing extreme difficulties to remember some thoughts and events. For example, a patient with the disease may start having rare memory lapses, which become more often and harder after several years. The patient may start forgetting relatives and friends and become unable to find the place where he or she lives after leaving home. Later, the patient may experience difficulties in reasoning and concentrating, may become able to perform only one simple task at a time. During the late years of the disease, the person may become depressed, apathetic, sometimes irritable, and may acquire negative sleeping habits.
At the initial stage, Alzheimer’s disease is challenging to be detected. Usually, relatives and neighbors may notice the unfortunate manifestations in the patient behavior. The physician should explore the patient’s symptoms and medical history to identify whether the symptoms are severe enough to suspect the Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor examines the physical state of the patient, makes blood and urine samples tests, and assigns making the scan of the brain with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). However, the main issue in the doctor’s examination is to detect dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease through cognitive testing. After this test, the diagnosis is made. What is more, the disease can be accompanied by cerebral atrophy, which regularly takes place when a person has the diseases affecting the brain. In this way, the patient condition may be worsened by the other health issues, which are more likely to appear with the presence of Alzheimer’s disorder.
The specific treatment and attention of the close people are essential for the patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Notably, the illness cannot be cured, and the treatment is aimed at slowing the manifestations of the symptoms (“Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,” 2010). Thus, to improve the patient’s state, the doctor usually prescribes taking galantamine for the mild stage, memantine for the moderate stage, and donepezil for the severe stage of the disease. The doctor also recommends to have a specific diet, physical exercises, and to undergo specialized cognitive training. Besides that, it is essential for the relatives of the patient or the nurse to take care of the patient as with the progress of the disease, particularly the memory loss, the person can become completely helpless.
There is no treatment that can stop Alzheimer’s disease. When the brain cells die, they cannot be reversed. In general, people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may live from one to about twenty years. However, most of the people live for about eight years. Most often, the disorder affects the elderly, so the main issue for the target population is the attention of their relatives and regular medical observations.
Causes of Alzheimer’s disease. (2017). National Institute of Aging. U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-causes- alzheimers-disease
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. (2010). NIH MedlinePlus, 5(3):19 Retrieved from https:// medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/fall10/articles/fall10pg19.html