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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive and fatal form of dementia, frequently seen in the elderly altering their cognition, thought process and behavior. AD is reported in about half of patients that have a dementia diagnosis; one study states that about 10.3% of the population over 65 years is affected by dementia with an increase to almost 50% over the age of 85. (Beattie, 2002) Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process in humans, but rather found in a group of diseases that affect the brain leading to a decline in mental and physical control. AD when diagnosed has a very slow and gradual course, initially affecting the individual’s short term memory. (Beattie, 2002) Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death, affecting more than five million people in the United States and is also one of the most common forms of dementia.
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Nursing Care and Understanding of Alzheimer Disease Introduction Loss of memory, forgetfulness, personal change, even death, are common related disorders caused by a disease called Dementia or better known to most people as Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States in persons 65 and older. Alzheimer’s disease is, named for the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, who first recognized the disease in 1907; Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a progressive deterioration of mental functioning. Nursing plays a major role in the care for patients who have Alzheimer’s disease during the three stages of the disease. The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are cared for at home by nursing caregivers or in a nursing home facility.
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In addition, delirium is reversible while dementia is a permanent condition. Therefore, differentiating the two will help in the quick treatment of delirium. The causes of the two conditions are similar in one way or another at the same time they vary. Delirium is caused by acute illness or drug toxicity while dementia is caused by anatomic changes in the brain that are generally irreversible. Dementia is a condition caused by Alzheimer’s disease, lewy body dementia, vascular dementia prontotemporal dementia and other related disease.