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Alzheimers Research Paper

What is Alzheimers disease?


Alzheimers disease is a progressive and irreversible disorder of the mind. It
is a type of dementia that interferes with memory, thinking, and behavior.
Brain size diminishes as neurons and other connections are destroyed.
Alzheimers disease can become so severe that it can interfere intensely with
activities of daily living. Alzheimers is related to health, environmental, and
lifestyle factors as well as genetics.
Diagnosis
Alzheimers disease is diagnosed in a number of ways. Doctors can conduct a
series of language, problem solving, memory, and attention tests on the
patient. Other methods of diagnosing the patient is by MRI, CT, and/or PET
scans are used to observe how the disease affects the different areas of the
brain and they are also used to rule out other diseases. A new diagnostic on
the frontier is the study of biomarkers. Biomarkers show biological signs of a
disease found in brain images, CSF fluid, and blood. These biomarkers can
detect early cognitive changes in the patient and can be used to diagnose
Alzheimers before symptoms appear.
Signs and Symptoms
Alzheimers presents itself at a different rate in people. In most people with
Alzheimers, symptoms first pronounce themselves in their mid-60s. The

first symptoms are memory impairment which is followed by cognitive


problems. The person may forget the act they just performed a few minutes
ago or may forget completely about a certain subject and have no
recollection of this ever happening. The symptoms of Alzheimers present
themselves in 7 different stages.
Stages
1

Symptoms
Normal Outward Behaviorsymptoms may be absent and only
a PET scan can identify and
diagnose Alzheimers
Very Mild Changes- things like
misplacing an object or forgetting
what a word is may appear in this
stage. Person may still be
asymptomatic in this stage.
Mild Decline- This is the point
where you start to notice symptoms.
Forgetting what the person just did
or repeating the same question over
and over as well as trouble with
remembering names become
apparent.
Moderate Decline- symptoms
worsen and patient reasoning and
thinking becomes less stable.
Patient can forget details about his
life and forget dates
Moderate Severe Decline- Patient
forgets where he is and what time it
is. He/she can forget phone
numbers, addresses, and starts
losing his/her train of thought.
Severe Decline- Symptoms worsen
and patient starts forgetting names.
He/she can mistake people for
others and delusions start setting in.
Very Severe Decline- Activities of
daily living start to decline and

patient has to be helped in doing all


of these things.

Treatment
There is no cure of Alzheimers patients yet. Once the symptoms appear,
there is no way to stop them completely and they are also irreversible. There
are medications that can slow down the progression of the disease though.
Treatment is based on different factors. These factors include: The severity of
the disease, the reaction of the medication/ therapy on your body, age,
mental health, and medical history. There are medications that slow down
the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. There is only one medication
that is approved by the FDA and that is Aricept. Aricept is used for all stages
of Alzheimers and is in the form of a tablet. When the Aricepts
effectiveness becomes dull, Namzaric is used. This is a combination of
Namenda and Aricept. It is used best for moderate to severe Alzheimers.
There are also other drugs that can be prescribed to help with other
problems that accompany the disease such as: depression, sleeplessness,
and behavioral problems.
Clinical Trials
Research is very extensive for Alzheimers and scientists are searching ways
to stop the progression of the disease as well as treat the symptoms. The
testing of new drugs helps scientists decipher which ones work and which
dont. Research is moving forward to creating an Alzheimers vaccine

Nursing Interventions
1. Orienting the patient as much as possible is very important. This helps
the patient stay aware of themselves and the environment.
2. Promoting independence is also an important intervention. This
disorder can stress out the patient and make him aggressive because
he/she cant remember something or someone. Show to patient
different ways to perform a task and involve them in as many activities
as possible. Giving them the right to choose their own clothes and
other choices can boost their independence level/
3. Label clothes, drawers, using post-it notes, and hanging pictures
around the room will assist the patients memory.
4. Eliminate sources of hazard in the environment. Reduce the risk of
injury by putting the bed in the lowest position, no rugs in the room,
and remove sharp objects from the room.
5. Encouraging the patient to take part in social activities will help reduce
the risk of isolation and depression.
Skills
Reorienting a confused Alzheimers patient
References
1. "National Institute on Aging | The Leader in Aging Research." U.S National Library of
Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

2. "Help End Alzheimer's." Alzheimer's Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

3. "Alzheimer's Disease Center: Dementia Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments." WebMD.


WebMD, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.