Alzheimer’s is a brain damage that slowly destroys the brain cell progressively and irreversibly affecting the cognitive ability, and thinking complicating to inability to performs even the simplest task. The condition is associated with old age, and thus is common in countries with higher life expectancy. The condition is linked with dementia, which is loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities leading to inhibited capability to perform individual normal life chores. The causes of the condition remain unknown, though it is hypothesized that the cause for the disease could be more than one factor. Researchers also suggest that genetic composition is the main determinant of the condition, exacerbated by environment and lifestyle. There are some hypothesized predisposing factors, which include diseases such as hypertension, heart condition, stroke, diabetes, obesity; dietary factors such as high cholesterol and low levels of vitamin folate, and old age (National Institute of Health, 2012).
According to the research initiated in 1906 by Dr. Alzheimer and supported by subsequent contemporary researchers, the brain develops abnormal crumps, tangled bundles of fibers, and loss of neurons. These abnormalities culminate to ineffective brain condition and functioning, thus the patient develops dementia (National Institute of Health, 2012).
Characteristics of the disease begin appearing at the age of 60 years. The characteristic of the condition are categorized into three groups according to the severity of the condition. The initial stages have minimal symptoms involving forgetfulness and negligence. Signs will include getting lost, poor judgment, misplacing things, repeating questions, and swings in mood and personality. After the mild stage, the condition progresses to the second stage, moderate Alzheimer’s disease, where there are challenging with controlling language, reasoning, sensory processing and conscious thought (National Institute of Health, 2012). The individual presents with memory loss, confusion, inhibition to recognizing new things, psychological conditions such hallucinations, delusion and paranoia. Such people will have difficulties in the society. Finally, the condition progressively settles to the severe Alzheimer’s disease stage. The person is unable to handle basic life activities on their own and solely relies on others. The patient cannot communicate, suffers from incontinence, seizers, weight loss.
According to statistics by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 5 million people are suffering from the condition. Most of these people are cared for at homes with a few of them being admitted to the hospital. There has been a wide increase in the cases of Alzheimer’s across the globe indicating that a number of individuals who are developing this condition is increasing each day (National Institute of Health, 2012).
In respect to the treatment of the Alzheimer’s disease, currently there has been no drug available to provide cure for the disorder. However, there have been a number of developments on the medicine aimed at improving the symptoms or even slowing down the progression of the disease in some people. There are two main types of medication which has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. These medications are Cholinesterase inhibitors together with the NMDA receptor antagonist. These drugs work differently in an effort to curb the symptoms as well as to stop the progression of the disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors comprises of donepezil hydrochloride, rivastigmine as well as the galantamine. The NMDA receptor antagonist mainly comprises of Memantine (National Institute of Health, 2012).
Alzheimer’s disease has great impact on both the family and the society. The initial receiving of a person’s diagnosis is a traumatic event for each and every individual. Therefore, at initial stages people are able to learn about the diagnosis and prepare for the future events regarding the disease. As the disease progresses, more strains are experienced by the family members, especially those ones who are involved in the provision of care to the individual. In the long run the patient ends being kept at home in order to be cared for. This adversely affects the family and the society as whole, since they need to bear all the expenses of caring for the person (Querfurth & LaFerla, 2010).