By the year 2050, an estimated 14 million Americans will be in its grip. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive disease of the brain, which is characterized by a gradual loss of memory and other mental functions. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia -- a general term referring to loss of memory and the ability to think, reason, function, and behave appropriately. The word dementia is derived from two Latin words, which mean away and mind, respectively. It’s different from the mild forgetfulness normally observed in older people.
Plaques and tangles are major features of Alzheimer’s disease, along with nerve cell communication issues within the brain. By the final stage, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly (National Institutes of Health, 2012). Early Signs and Symptoms As dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT) is frequently the cause of dementia in the geriatric population common symptoms, treatments and the efficacy of the treatments will be discussed. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type is a cognitive impairment, resulting in the inability to learn and retain new inform... ... middle of paper ... ...Abnormal Psychology (15th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
AD usually occurs in old age, and is marked by a decline in cognitive functions such as remembering, reasoning, and planning. "(Robinson, 1999). A summary of other definitions found in other sources is: Alzheimer's disease is a little known-about, but common, incurable or chronic brain disease that destroys the cells of the brain, and causes gradual loss of mental function and troublesome changes in behavior. The disease is thought to attack the parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling thought, memory, and language. Along with this complex definition comes abundant general information, facts and figures.
People with Alzheimer’s disease have impaired abilities due to the destruction of nerve cells in the brain (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2011). Alzheimer’s disease is a “degenerative brain disease of unknown cause that is the most common form of dementia, that results in progressive memory loss, impaired thinking, disorientation, and changes in personality and mood, that leads in advanced cases to a profound decline in cognitive and physical functioning” (Merium-Webster dictionary). Alzheimer’s typically occurs in the geriatric population and affects an estimated one in eight people over the age of sixty-four (Arbesman & Lieberman, 2011). Occupational therapy practitioners can help individuals who are diagnosed with this disease through many avenues. Some of the goals of occupational therapy for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are to create, restore, maintain, modify and prevent further deterioration of occupational performance (Schaber, 2010).
Miller, C. A. (2009). Nursing for wellness in older adults: Theory and practice (5th ed.). Cleveland, Ohio: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2011).
The complexity of dementia presents a number of behavioural challenges to those who live with dementia and their care providers. Aggressive behaviour seems to be one of the most prevalent challenging behaviours in the different stages of dementia (Weitzel et al 2011). As acute care settings are not the best places for people afflicted with dementia , it is necessary to empower the hospitalised people with dementia and their family members. As nurses are often the central core of care, they should have the potential of positive long-term effect on the lives of people with dementia (Harrison-Dening 2013). Inadequate training, lack of specialised education, negative attitudes and poor practice development can precipitate a failure in the delivery of high-quality care for the hospitalised dementia people (Chater & Hughes 2012).
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.
Dementia and Delirium are perplexing conditions both to differentiate and experience. Dementia is a progressive intellectual function and other cognitive skills decline condition which results to a decline in an individual’s performance of their daily activities. Unlike dementia, delirium also known as acute confusional state is an acute medical condition which results in confusion and other disruptions in a person’s thinking and behavior including attention, activity level and perception. It is very important to distinguish between the two conditions because, delirium can be found in a person that already has dementia. A study done by Fick and Mion (2008) indicated that, about 22% of adults with dementia develop delirium.
In this literature review, I will discuss the different effects that AD has on the brain and the outcome of what various repercussions can occur. It is important it is to call for more research in the future to attempt to find a possible cure or new methods of treatment. AD is the most common form of dementia. During the course of the different stages of AD, the patient will experience deterioration of brain cells, in specific areas of the brain, that ultimately lead to the incompetency of motor functions and the ability to recognize everyday items and people in their life. AD has a vast effect on one’s memory.