Alzheimers Disease Book Report

This essay has a total of 1742 words and 9 pages.

Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimer's Disease
(Nervous System)

Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder that leads to
impairments in memory, thinking and reasoning. It is a late-life illness that causes a
form of brain failure. It produces confused thinking, impairs judgment, changes
personality, alters behavior. The illness is progressive and ultimately results in death.
While it cannot be cured, it can be treated.

During the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease, many people are aware that their memory
is failing. The progression of Alzheimer's disease may last up to 20 years in some
individuals. People in the final stages require 24-hour care, as they become completely
dependent for even the most basic activities such as eating, bathing, and using the
bathroom. Near the end, patients become bed-bound and mute.

The third stage covers the period from the onset of total care to death; it usually lasts
one to three years. At this stage, most people are in a nursing home. They have usually
lost all concepts of past and future. They may not recognize family members though they
usually are aware that they are friendly people who care for them. They lose all bowel and
bladder control and toward the latter part of this stage lose the ability to walk. Near
the end, they lose the ability to speak and to swallow and may refuse to take food or
liquid by mouth. Death intervenes at this point.

People who are worried about memory problems should see their doctor. If the doctor
believes that the problem is serious, then a physical, neurological, and psychiatric
evaluation may be recommended. A complete medical examination for memory loss may include
gathering information about the person's medical history, including use of prescription
and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, and general health. The
doctor also may ask a family member for information about the person.

Blood tests and urine test may be taken to help the doctor find any problems. There are
also tests of mental abilities. A scan may show signs of normal age-related changes in the
brain. It may be necessary to have another scan at a later date to see if there have been
changes in the brain.

Alzheimer's disease and multi-infarct dementia can exist together, making it hard for the
doctor to diagnose either one specifically. Scientists use to think that multi-infarct
dementia and other types of vascular dementia caused most cases of mental impairment. They
now think that most older people with irreversible dementia have Alzheimer's disease.

Wellness and Prevention
There is no certain way to prevent Alzheimer's disease. It may be possible to reduce the
risk of developing the illness, Because Alzheimer's disease occurs late in life and there
is such a long interval between the start of symptoms and death, the ability to delay the
time when the first problems become visible would be useful

As people age, it is a good idea to do everything to protect their brains from premature
failure. This will allow them to function at their best. People should exercise both their
brains and bodies on a regular basis. They should maintain a healthy, nutritious diet.
People should take vitamin E daily, consulting their doctor for the appropriate dose,
avoid excessive alcohol, and review all medications they take with their physician on a
regular basis.

There is currently no effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Research has suggested
many possibilities, but none of them show signs of improvement in the majority Alzheimer's
sufferers. A healthy diet is important. Although no special diets or nutritional
supplements have been found to prevent or reverse Alzheimer's disease, a balanced diet
helps maintain overall good health.

Medical Therapy
Special types of medications, called cholinesterase inhibitors, are currently the only
medications that have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for
improvement of symptoms in people with Alzheimer's disease. These medications may help to
improve memory, but it is more likely that they will only work to improve the ability to
accomplish everyday tasks. The medications inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter
acetylcholine which prolongs its duration of activity in the brain. Because donepezil is
only given once a day and does not have any bad effects on the liver, it is usually
preferred over tacrine.

The early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may be overlooked because they resemble signs of
natural aging. These symptoms include forgetfulness, loss of concentration, unexplained
Continues for 5 more pages >>