The Effects of Alzheimer’s disease, Symptoms, Behaviors, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments, and Future Outlook Wanda W. Jones
Alzheimer’s disease is the decline of mental function and the most common form of dementia (Parsa, 2011). Dementia is a term used to describe multiple areas of functions that have progressive declines, such as “decline in memory, reasoning, communication skills, and the ability to carry out daily activities” (Banerjee, 2012, p. 706). Banerjee (2012) further explains that in conjunction with those declines, and at any point of the disease, individuals with dementias could develop symptoms of behavioral and psychological troubles such as “depression, psychosis, aggression, and wandering, causing problems in themselves, [and] complicate care” (p. 706). In 1907, Alzheimer’s disease was named after a German neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer, who first described the neuropathological features of this progressive disease that includes intellectual function loss and memory deterioration (Solmaz & Tastan, 2012, p. 289). The disease follows the path of “progressive deterioration comprised of gradual destruction of memory, judgment, language, reasons in addition to behavioral alterations” (Parsa, 2011, p. 100). The major dementias include “Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, mixtures of these two pathologies (mixed dementia) and rarer types such as Lewy body dementia, dementia in Parkinson’s disease and frontotemoporal dementia” (Banerjee, 2012, p. 706). Terms used by the public to describe dementia includes “’Alzheimer’s’, ‘dementia’, ‘senile’ and ‘crazy’”, with euphemisms “’senior moment’, ‘old timer’s disease’” and ‘slow thinking’ (Laditka S. B., et al., 2013, p. 369). Primarily, ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ is the term used to describe all types of dementia (Banerjee, 2012). According to The Alzheimer’s Association (2013), approximately 60-80% dementia cases are classified as Alzheimer’s disease (p. 210). Following is a brief description of the different types of common dementias written by the The Alzheimer's Association (2013, p. 210): Alzheimer’s disease (AD) - Difficulty remembering names and recent events is often an early clinical symptom; apathy and depression are also often early symptoms. Later symptoms include impaired judgment, disorientation, confusion, behavior changes, and difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. Vascular dementia-Impaired judgment or ability to make plans is more likely to be the initial symptom, as opposed to the memory loss often associated with the initial symptoms of AD. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)-Some [of the same] symptoms common in AD, but are more likely than people with AD to have initial or early symptoms such as sleep disturbances, well-formed visual hallucinations, and muscle rigidity or other parkinsonian movement features. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-Typical symptoms include changes in personality and behavior, and difficulty with language. Mixed dementia-Characterized by the hallmark abnormalities of AD and another type of dementia-most commonly vascular dementia. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease-Rapidly fatal disorder that impairs memory and coordination, and causes behavior changes. Consuming mad cow disease products. Normal pressure hydrocephalus-Symptoms include difficulty walking, memory loss, and inability to control urination. Surgical correction possible. Aging is the principal risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (Chapman, Cotman, Fillit, Gallagher, & van Dyck, 2012). Mayeux (2010) emphasized that family history has been consistently reported as a risk factor (p. 2196). There are “well-characterized mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin (PS1 and PS2) that represent a small number of familial cases” (Niedowicz, et al., 2013, p. 439). However, in contrast “the vast majority of AD cases are nonfamilial, sporadic late-onset AD, and...
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