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Alzheimer´s Disease: An in Depth Look at Signs, Symptoms, and Disgnosis

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Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia affecting the older population. Symptoms are more noticeable over time due to the severity of the stages worsening. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It accounts for fifty to eighty percent of dementia cases. Contrary to belief Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Different parts of the brain are affected causing multiple symptoms sometimes not diagnosed until later stages in the disease.
Nerve cell death and tissue throughout the brain is the most significant affect over time. Naturally by age twenty-five the brain starts to decrease in size. With Alzheimer’s, the amount decrease is extremely significant. The cortex begins to shrivel up which is the part of the brain required for planning, remembering, and thinking. The most noticeable shrinkage occurs in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for the formation of new memories, it is also located inside the cortex. Upon further inspection under microscope, tissue samples are observed and synapses and nerve cell count is severely decreased. Tangles, are also found which our twisted strands of another protein due to nerve cells dying and bunching together. Plaques and tangles are prime suspects in the death and tissue loss in the Alzheimer’s brain. Beta-amyloid is a chemical and is sticky which causes it to gradually build up into plaques. This chemical derives from a larger protein found in the nerve cells with fatty membranes. These tangles destroy a vital cell transport system made of proteins.
There are seven stages of Alzheimer’s, classified by Dr. Barry Reisberg, M.D. clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center. Each stage carr...

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...ally during this stage patients will lose their ability to control movement completely, but still may say words and certain phrases. He/she will need assistance with most of their daily living and require personal care round the clock. Also, they lose the ability to smile or sit without support.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is not an exact science. Certain tests are completed to assist in the diagnosis. These tests include; mental status testing, neurological exam and thorough medical history, physical tests are also completed.
There are no current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are constantly looking for new and advanced treatments to alter the course. Any breakthrough in progress will ensure the improvement of the quality of life of people with dementia.

Works Cited

www.alz.org
www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease
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