Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease

624 Words3 Pages
Dementia is defined as a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by a brain disease or injury marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. There are a wide variety of diseases and conditions that can cause dementia, however the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia late in life. Dementia is characterized by loss of the ability to think clearly. Few people under the age of sixty are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, however the disease is much more common in people over sixty. It is known that changes occur in the brain up to 10 years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become apparent. People with Alzheimer’s disease…show more content…
In most situations the patient ,or those close to them, may notice increasing forgetfulness, this is commonly accompanied by reduced interest, or awareness of, ongoing activities. An autopsy performed after the patient dies can confirm if a patient had Alzheimer’s disease. In patients who had Alzheimer 's disease have nerve cells in the brain that appear distorted. It is believed that plaques that consist of protein called neurofibrillary tangles are the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Areas of the brain that have this kind of plaque appear to be shrunken(Gandy). Researchers have linked the formation of these plaques in the brain to amyloid beta forty two. Amyloid beta forty two is a protein that is a natural byproduct of the brains daily functions. Half of the amyloid beta forty two is removed by a healthy brain of person in their thirties in about four hours, however in the elderly it takes ten hours to remove half of the protein. The decreasing speed of removal of this protein leads to higher levels of it, thus resulting in an increased likelihood of the disease causing plaques forming(Alzheimer Disease;…show more content…
The therapies for Alzheimer’s disease offer partial symptomatic relief and do not modify the disease’s progression. There is substantial evidence indicating the disease’s onset years before an actual diagnosis, at which point no effective therapy has been found(Neurodegenerative Diseases;Findings). The drugs used to relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are called cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase inhibitors work by blocking the action of the enzyme cholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a chemical that transmits nerve impulses. When someone has Alzheimer’s disease, there is a reduced amount of acetylcholine because brain cells die. By preventing Acetylcholine from being broken down, cholinesterase inhibitors increase the amount of Acetylcholine in the brain. However, this shows only a limited amount of relief and last temporarily. The drug only works temporarily because it does not prevent the death of nerve cells. The drug leads to a sudden decline in condition once they stop working due to the fact that the drug does not treat the cause of the

More about Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease

Open Document