Alzheimer’s disease is referred to as a progressive mental deterioration that can happen in middle of old age, primarily because of generalized degeneration of the brain. It stands as the most common cause of premature senility.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Society. As per the publication, the word dementia describes a group of symptoms that include memory loss, difficulties in speech and comprehension, problem-solving, and comprehension.
Named after the doctor Alois Alzheimer, Alzheimer’s disease also affects more than 520,000 people in the United Kingdom. Its pathophysiology involves the build up of proteins in the brain, forming structures called plaques and tangles. These plaques results to the loss of links between nerve cells, the functional unit of the nervous systems. The loss of connection between the cells further leads to their death and loss of brain tissue. In addition to the neural destruction caused by protein and plaque accumulation, it was also found out that people who are affected with the disease lack chemical messengers in the brain. As a result, signal transmission around the brain is limited; thus, limiting the cognitive capacities of a person.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive type of degenerative disorder. According to Alzheimer’s Society, the earliest symptom of the disease are memory lapses, which happen due to the early damage to the hippocampus, a part of the brain which is responsible in human memory. The person may also lose items around the house, have trouble to find the right word during a conversation, forget a person’s name, forget recent events or conversations, get lost in a familiar place, and forget appointments or events like anniversaries.
Aside from memory issues, Alzheimer’s disease can also lead to problems with cognition, which involves thinking, logic, perception, and communication. The person may find it hard to follow a conversation and may repeat themselves at times. They may also have some problems seeing distant objects in three dimensions, which makes it hard for them to climb stairs or park the car. They may also have problems concentrating, planning, or organizing things, such as decision making problem solving, or performing a sequence of tasks like cooking. A person’s orientation may also be distorted, as he may become confused or lose track of the date.
The early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease also include mood changes, irritability, anxiety, and depression. Some people may also become withdrawn and disinterested in activities and hobbies. In later stages, the disease escalates to more severe signs and symptoms of problems with memory, reasoning, orientation, and communication.
Management for Alzheimer’s disease is symptomatic, according to EMedicine. This means that the interventions are based on the symptoms of the disease. In addition to this approach is the prescription and administration of medications like cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) and partial N-methyl-D-asprtate (NMDA) antagonist. It is noted that the drugs are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. For symptoms like depression, aggression, delusions, agitation, hallucination, and sleep disorders, psychotropic medications are administered. These medications include antidepressants, anti-Parkinsonian agents, beta-blockers, anxioloytics, antiepileptic drugs, and neuroleptics. Since most trials circling these psychotropic agents for Alzheimer’s disease have not yielded highly favorable results, data from the aforementioned studies could not directly serve as credible sources for data interpretation and treatment production.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the prime topics of biomedical research at present, according to Alzheimer’s Association. As per the publication, researchers are now investigating factors related to the condition and uncover them as possible. The findings over the last 15 years have contributed to the development of effective treatment to the disease and some of the latest evidenced-based data gave clarity to the relationship of Alzheimer’s disease’s pathophysiology and the brain of the people with the disorder. Based on these findings, investigators’ knowledge is broadened, leading them to the rise of new treatment approaches.
If a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia, one may coordinate with organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association for credible knowledge, education, support, and referral. The organization may help people plot personalized action plans and get in touch with local support services.