Alzheimers Disease:
The exact cause of the Alzheimer’s disease has not yet been fully discovered. It is possible that Alzheimers may be due to enviromental and lifestyle factors or due to a mix of genetics. However, the disease is characterised by the loss of neurons in the brain. It is thought that the amyloid plagues and neurofibrillary contribute to the malfunctioning of the neuron.

Amyloid plagues: Protein fragments produced by the body
  • Healthy Brain: Broken down and removed
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Gather and form hard, insoluble plagues

Neurofibrially: Insoluble twisted fibres
  • Healthy Brain: Protein in the structure of a microtubule transports nutrients and other substances around the brain in order to keep cells(neurons) alive.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: The microtubule structure of the protein collapses thus is not able to transport nutrients and substances around the brain thus the cells(neurons) die.
This results in abnormalities of the brain: Impulses are not able to be transported via the neurons thus the brain is unable to perform functions as it is not receiving the impulses(messages).

Medical illustration showing the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease
Medical illustration showing the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease
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  • Difficulty performing thoughts that require some thought(Learning new information or a routine)
  • Misplacing items
  • Change in personality and social skills
  • Getting lost on familiar routes
  • Change in mood(flat); Losing interested in things that were previously enjoyed
  • Language changes: difficulty in finding names of familiar objects

  • Delusion; agitation; depression
  • Hallucinating
  • Difficulty reading and writing
  • Loss of ability in recognising danger-poor judgement
  • Withdrawing from social contact
  • Speaking in confusing sentences; unable to find right words
  • Forgetting details about current events and events about history of their life; losing awareness of who you are
  • Violent behaviour

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Age that symptoms are most likely to appear:

65 years and older
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Long term prognosis:

After symptoms are evident, the expectancy of an Alzheimer’s disease is 8 to 10 years. An Alzheimer’s patient does not die directly from the Alzheimers disease itself but due to the complications that come with the associated symptoms.
  • Example:
    • Difficulty swallowing- choke to death
The Alzheimers disease is a progressive disease thus a the patient will get worse with time.
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There is no treatment available in order to cure the disease although there is medication that one can take in order to slow down the progression of the disease and manage the symptoms.
  • 23 to 24 million people have dementia today
  • 4-6 million cases of dementia every year(one new case every 7 seconds)
  • The number of people will double every 20 years
  • Most people with dementia live in developing countries
Prevention: Lifestyle Choices
  • Regular exercise
    • Reduces stress
    • Boosts mood
    • Improves memory
    • Increases energy
  • Healthy diet
    • Meditation diet
    • Avoid trans fats and saturated fats
    • Consume a large amount of omega 3 fats
  • Mental stimulation
    • Practise memorisation
    • Play strategy games: puzzles; riddles
    • Learn something new(e.g. foreign language)
    • Play the 5W- try memorise who; what; where; when; why list of daily activities
  • Quality sleep
    • Ensure that you are getting enough sleep
  • Stress management
    • Daily relaxing periods in order to try keep stress levels low
  • An active social life
    • Join a social group/ club
    • Get involved in community service
    • Connect with others via facebook; email or skype
    • Make weekly meeting times with friends
Hardships/lifestyle conditions:

It is essential that care givers who are dealing with an Alzheimer’s patients do not agitate them in any way. Agitation of the patient may be caused by not granting the orders of the patient. It is important that the care giver or family member does not try correct the state of confusion that the patient may be experiencing. It is essential that the care giver is tolerant and understanding when working with one who is suffering due to this particular disease.

However, it is vital to know that working with an Alzheimer's patient can leave physical, emotional and finacial costs.

Finanal costs are due to the medication that is used to treat the symptoms of the disease, such as medication in order to control anxiety, depression or hallucinations. It is important that these finanical costs of the patient are taken into the care of one who is able to manage the money in an effective way in order to ensure that no money is not wasted. Due to the the symptoms of the Alzheimer's disease it is possible that the patient would mismanage their finaces.

A hardship that may come into consideration when looking at an Alzheimer's patient is the public perception of their disease. It is possible that due to the symptoms associated with the Alzheimers disease, one may consider the patient to be irresponsible or unwise. However, this may be true although it is no reason for society to look down upon them as a person and treat them with disrespect due to their inability to make good jugdements or their violent behaviour. It is essential that one always treats an person with respect regardless the circumstances.

It is responsible of the family members of the Alzheimers patient to ensure that they organise 24 hour care for one who is suffering from this particular disease. If not, there is a high risk of the patient putting himself/herself under a dangerous situation due to their inability to make good judgements.

It would be sensible of the care givers of one suffering from Alzheimers disease to ensure that the household in which the patient lives is user friendly regarding its size and the ability for the patient to be able to move around easily(with assistance of course) in the late stages of their disease. One in this particular situation would require a small house with no stairs or consisting of one level. It is important that as soon as symptoms are evident that one moves the patient to a house that they would be expected to live in for the rest of their lives until their disease becomes severe and thus eventually die. This is important as it is difficult to expose an Alzheimer's pateinet to change in the servere stage of this disease as this would cause an increase in their confused state of mind.