Alzheimer's Disease Essay

1701 words - 7 pages

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is closely related to old age and is the most common form of dementia. It is very different from other common diseases of old age, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and lung disease. Alzheimer’s disease affects the most important part, the brain, which controls all the functions and movements of the human body. Alzheimer’s disease affects an individual’s memory as it is a neurological disorder that causes the destruction of brain cells resulting in memory loss and cognitive decline. It is not something that you can contract from another individual like the flu; this disease is something that starts progressing as an individual ...view middle of the document...

Senile plaques “consist of extra- cellular deposits of amyloid material and are associated with swollen, distorted neuronal processes called dystrophic neurites (Munoz).” Neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques are the two main causal factors of Alzheimer’s disease, though it is not limited only to these two factors. There are no particular criteria for diagnosing this disease and it is difficult to know when should it be diagnosed? Genetics also play an important role in determining causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Some genetic mutations in a specific gene is related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Another factor that plays a role in the development of this disease are environmental factors and some studies prove that. There are few mechanisms that are related to aging have been linked to Alzheimer’s like free radicals, mutations in the messenger RNA. Severe head trauma, poor education, severe epilepsy can put individuals at a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s (Munoz).
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease has different kind of symptoms such as neuropsychiatric, behavioral, and negative symptoms. Even though every symptom is important to be considered, but neuropsychiatric symptoms are most important to look at. Earlier it was thought that these symptoms appear in the later stages of the disease, but now it is known that they arise in the early stage of the disease (Balthazar). These symptoms are associated with mild cognitive impairment along with Alzheimer’s, out of all the neuropsychiatric symptoms, depression and apathy are more prevalent in early Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease grows, the observers seem to observe other neuropsychiatric symptoms such as agitation, delusions, hallucinations, aggression, anxiety, disinhibition, and irritability (Balthazar). Negative symptoms displayed by an individual with Alzheimer’s disease are no interest in self-hygiene, household work, or job, no interest in any social activity, and no emotional feelings towards other people. “Negative symptoms were more severe in patients with Alzheimer's disease than in the healthy elderly comparison subjects. Among the patients with Alzheimer's disease, negative symptoms were correlated with dementia severity (Reichman).” Behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s are mostly same as the neuropsychiatric symptoms like aggression, sleep disturbances, agitation etc.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Symptomatic treatment and disease-modifying treatment are the two types of approaches towards the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Symptomatic treatment targets to reduce certain clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s like memory loss, whereas disease-modifying treatment targets the pathways that lead to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s by interfering in those pathways, resulting in slow clinical progression of the disease (Galasko). “Novel treatment approaches to AD, such as secretase inhibitors, or immunization against Aβ, may allow the amyloid hypothesis to...

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