Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disease, manifests itself when the human brain undergoes partial memory loss, including the ability to reason or think. In turn, the disease causes various behavioral problems but may have no implication on certain memory-related or behavioral risks associated with age (Murphy et al. 284). The symptoms of the disease vary, but the most noticeable sign is when a person exhibits gradual memory loss. The tendency to forget things and places tend to negatively affect daily activities. Accordingly, people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease often misplace things, struggle to communicate (Dharmarajan et al. 40), are easily confused, and can get lost even in places familiar to them.
The diagnosis of the disease is often termed as an ‘exclusion diagnosis’ (Murphy et al. 285), which means there is no test specific for Alzheimer’s disease, but numerous tests, which rule out other conditions. The initial stages of the disease are characterized by short-term loss of memory, and as it progresses, a considerable decline in intellectual function and abstract thinking becomes more visible (Murphy et al. 283). Once Alzheimer’s disease enters its final stages, patients become a lot more disoriented and confused. At this point, severe disorientation can result in the patients developing pneumonia or different other ailments, which could lead to death. Notably, a lot of people with the disease often succumb to different health-related complications other than the Alzheimer’s disease (Gold and Budson 1880). Additionally, the disease can last up to eight years, but it can be present in a person for three to twenty years.
Approximately 5 million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which makes it one of the most common forms of dementia (Qiu et al. 112). Qiu et al. added that Alzheimer’s disease accounts for close to 60% of all dementia cases combined, 12% of which comprises of people aged 65 years and above, and one-third of the population over 85 years old (113). The disease can also have a negative implication on the family members of patients with the disease. This is because approximately 15 million American families, friends, and caretakers are affected by the condition annually (Bekris et al. 214). The disease is also genetic, which means the family members with a patient stand a greater chance of the diagnosis since a single gene mutation is a condition found in the patient’s brain. Accordingly, the leading determinant of the Alzheimer’s disease in a person is a gene known as the apoliproteinE (apoE) (Bekris et al. 226).
One of the most prominent forms of the Alzheimer’s disease is vascular dementia characterized by a deteriorating thought process. Vascular dementia is triggered by an impaired supply of blood to the human brain (Michael et al. 12). In turn, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients. As a result, the symptoms involved with limited thinking skills surfaces almost immediately following a stroke, which prevents blood vessels to the brain. Accordingly, the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by waves or signatures known as tangles and plagues (Puthiyedth et al. 1). Research shows that the brain of normal humans develop these plagues and tangles immediately the age-related or naturally-induced mental decline commences. However, these tangles and plagues develop massively in the brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, although there is no immediate cure for the Alzheimer’s disease, research shows that physical exercises play a primary role in the reduction of risks of developing the disease (Scarmeas et al. 580). There are also other studies, which suggest consuming certain foods ensure an individual brain remains active and healthy. Particularly, the preventive diet identified overtime include eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (Aridi et al. 674). Notably, Barnes et al. added that people who consume the ‘Mediterranean diet’ have 28% less risk of developing cognitive impairment, as well as a 48% less risk of progression from this cognitive impairment to vascular dementia (581). Therefore, all this suggest that having a proper nutrition is important in preventing the Alzheimer’s disease development. In conclusion, there is no immediate or specific treatment for the Alzheimer’s disease, and this means different forms of treatment are only present to assist in slowing down or reducing aggressive symptoms. At the same time, there is the view that the patients with Alzheimer’s disease who are determined to adhere to any form of treatment, care and support would be able to lead a relatively normal life without complications and further disease progression.
- Aridi, Yasmine S, Walker, Jacqueline L, and Wright, Oliver RL. ‘The Association between the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and Cognitive Health: a Systematic Review.’ Nutrients. 9.7 (2017): 674. Print.
- Bekris, Lynn M, Chang-En Yu, Thomas D. Bird, and Debby W. Tsuang. ‘Review Article: Genetics of Alzheimer Disease.’ Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology. 23.4 (2010): 213-227. Print.
- Dharmarajan, T.S, and S.G Gunturu. “Alzheimer’s Disease: a Healthcare Burden of Epidemic Proportion.’ American Health and Drug Benefits. 2.1 (2009): 39-47. Print.
- Gold, Carl A, and Budson, Andrew E. ‘Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s disease: Implications for Development of Therapeutics.’ Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 8.12 (2008): 1879-1891. Print.
- Michael, Ralph, Aufried Lenferink, Gijs F. J. M. Vrensen, Ellen Gelpi, Rafael I. Barraquer, and Cees Otto. ‘Hyperspectral Raman Imaging of Neuritic Plaques and Neurofibrillary Tangles in Brain Tissue from Alzheimer’s Disease Patients.’ Scientific Reports. 7.1 (2017): 12-15. Print.
- Murphy, MC, DT Jones, CR J. Jack, KJ Glaser, ML Senjem, A Manduca, JP Felmlee, RE Carter, RL Ehman, and J . Huston. ‘Regional Brain Stiffness Changes across the Alzheimer’s Disease Spectrum.’ Neuroimage. Clinical. 10 (2016): 283-90. Print.
- Puthiyedth, Nisha, Carlos Riveros, Regina Berretta, Pablo Moscato, and Barbara Bardoni. ‘Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes through Integrated Study of Alzheimer’s Disease Affected Brain Regions.’ PLOS One. 11.4 (2016): 1-3. Print.
- Qiu, C, M Kivipelto, and Strauss E. Von. ‘Epidemiology of Alzheimer’s Disease: Occurrence, Determinants, and Strategies toward Intervention.’ Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 11.2 (2009): 111-128. Print.
- Scarmeas, NY Stern, R Mayeux, J.J Manly, N Schupf, and J. A Luchsinger. ‘Mediterranean Diet and Mild Cognitive Impairment.’ Archives of Neurology. 66.2 (2009): 216-225. Print.