Alzheimer's Disease

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by chutchin
Last updated 7 years ago

Health & Fitness

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Alzheimer's Disease

Early symptoms can include: Trouble remembering recent events and new peopleDifficulty remembering the pastActing irritable and moodyDepression and anxiety related to confusionDifficulty recallng where an item was placedConfusion surrounding directions Trouble keeping up with conversationsPoor mathematical skills, particularly countingLater symptoms:Physical disability IncontinenceInability to dress oneselfTrouble Speaking

Effects on Nervous System: Alzheimer's interupts the connections of the brain, creating tangles and plaques arounds neurons from a collected beta-amyloid protein. This causes cell death. As the process continues, the brain shrinks and loses mass as it is "eaten away". The individual loses abilities according the where the plaque builds up. Starting in the hippocampus, where memory, thought processes, and personality is controlled. The disease continues on to effect all areas of the brain, ending in the brain stem where it stops breathing. Diagnosis: A diagnosis can be made only after a health professional has collected a medical history, performed mental status exam, carried out physical tests (to rule out other conditions) and reviewed laboratory tests such as CT scans to determine the scope of the damage already done to the brain.

Treatment: no treatment exists to reverse the damage done, but four FDA-approved drugs are available as treaatment options. These drugs can delay further damage but are often only effective in th short term. Researchers in Edinburgh are developing a drug called Betabloc that hopes to stop the progress and repair damage as it dissolves the plaque that causes the disease. Population at Risk: Age is the highests risk factor, followed by lifestyle choices, including high stress and inactivity. Other theories, such as heavy metal toxicity exist. How many People have the disease? In Canada 450,000 have a form of dementia, Alzheimer's makes up 2/3 of these cases. Well known individuals, Ronald Reagan (President) and Charlton Heston (Actor) suffered form the disease in their later years.Prognosis: Without a cure, the prognosis is bleak. As a degenerative disease, its progression will continue. The disease takes 8-10 years before the plaque invades the systems of the brain that control breathing.

Alzheimer's disease disrupts the memory and thought processes of patients, permanently altering the functioning of the brain. The disease changes the personality and physical capabilities of those afflicted. It is considered a degenerative disease, over time the symptoms will progressively get worse. Causes: Currently, there is no known cause, although a lot of work is being done to discover the cause. Factors such as age and lifestyle seem to be responsible. There is a spike in diagnosis as people age. Of the 70,000 people in BC that have the disease, only 10,000 are under 65. Regularly participating in mentally challenging ctivities has been known to delay the onset.


For more information and patient support, check out the alzheimer's society, click here!

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Diseases of the Nervous System

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