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Know about Alzheimer's Disease

October 24, 2011  by: YOH YOH  Points: 12   Category: Health    Views: 596

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities. AD begins slowly, first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

         

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities. AD begins slowly, first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

Alzheimer's disease can be categorized into early onset-Alzheimer's disease and late onset- Alzheimer's disease. People with AD may have trouble in remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. Over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members or have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them. AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as one get older.The risk is higher if a family member has the disease.

Causes:

Alzhemer's disease is characterized by deposition of proteins in the brain.The depositions forms the Plaques and Tangles.

Plaques - deposits of the protein beta-amyloid that accumulate in the spaces between nerve cells.

Tangles - deposits of the protein tau that accumulate inside of nerve cells.

Genetic Factors

The gene apolipoprotein E (ApoE) has been identified that linked to late-onset Alzheimer's disease. However, only a small percentage of people carry the form of ApoE that increases the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's. Other genes or combinations of genes may be involved.

Environmental Factors

Researchers have investigated various environmental factors that may play a role in Alzheimer' s disease or that trigger the disease process in people who have a genetic susceptibility. Some studies have suggested Alzheimer's development is due to serious head injuries in early adulthood. Lower educational level, which may decrease mental activity and neuron stimulation, has also been investigated.

Symptoms:

The early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be overlooked because they resemble signs of natural aging. However, extreme memory loss or other cognitive changes that disrupt normal life are not typical signs of aging.

Older adults who begin to notice a persistent mild memory loss of recent events may have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is now believed to be a significant sign of early-stage Alzheimer's in older people. Studies suggest that older individuals who experience such mild memory abnormalities can later develop Alzheimer's disease.

. Memory changes that disrupt daily life. Forgetfulness of recent events or information, or repeatedly asking for the same information.

. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Loss of concentration.

. Difficulty in completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.

. Confusion about time or place. Difficulty in recognizing familiar neighborhoods or remembering a location, confusion about months or seasons.

. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Difficulty reading, figuring out distance, or determining color.

. Language problems. Forgetting the names of objects, mixing up words, difficulty in completing sentences or following conversations.

. Misplacing things, Putting objects back in unusual places, losing things, accusing others of hiding or stealing.

. Impaired judgment and decision making.

. Dressing inappropriately or making poor financial decisions.

. Withdrawal from work or social activities.

. Mood and personality changes.

. Confusion, increased fear or suspicion, apathy and depression, anxiety.

. Signs can be loss of interest in activities, increased sleeping, sitting in front of the television for long periods of time.

Diagnosis:

Neuropsychological tests such as the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) are widely used to evaluate the cognitive impairments needed for diagnosis.

. Interviews with family members are also utilized in the assessment of the disease.

. Psychological tests for depression are employed, since depression can either be concurrent with AD.

. Mental status examination.

. Medical history analysis.

. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid for amyloid beta or tau proteins.

. A new technique known as PiB PET has been developed for direct and clear imaging beta-amyloid deposits in vivo using a tracer that binds selectively to the Abeta deposits.

Treatment:

Unfortunately there is no treatment to cure or stop the progress of Alzheimer's disease. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved five drugs that may temporarily relieve some of the symptoms, they are:

. Donepezil (Aricept)

. Tacrine (Cognex)

. Galantamine (Razadyne, changed from the trade name Reminyl June 2005)

. Rivastigmine (Exelon)

. Memantine (Namenda)

Some treatments like Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation, Synapse Protection, Testosterone Supplementation, Increased insulin levels, Vaccination of Amyloid beta peptide they may be effective for Alzheimer's disease.

Prevention:

While there is no prevention method to AD, some practices that may worth to prevent AD are,

. Supplement of antioxidant vitamins

. Diet with fruits and vegetables

. Uptake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

http://www.yohyoh.com/health/online-doctor/diseases/neurology/alzheimer/

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