Nowadays, millions of people throughout the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It is not a normal part of aging. Active management of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that generate dementia can considerably improve the quality of patient’s life and ease the work of caregivers. I have chosen to explore one of the most common types of dementia due to the positive emotions I experienced while watching a film Still Alice, in which the heroine of Julianne Moore is bravely struggling with the brain disorder with the help of her beloved family. I am still wondering why no one can find the cure for this disease despite living in the progressive era of technological advancements. The current paper seeks to examine Alzheimer’s as an incurable and chronic disorder of the nervous system that occurs mostly in the elderly and is characterized by slow destruction of brain cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia and a neurodegenerative brain issue characterized by progressive mental deterioration, loss of memory and other thinking skills that prevents people from leading a normal life. It slowly destroys patients’ intellectual abilities including those connected with performing familiar tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most prevalent causes of death in the USA after cancer and heart diseases.
The presence of certain symptoms affects the degree of the disorder’s severity in people. Ebenezer (2015) points out that the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease emerged in people in the mid-1960s. The main symptoms of Alzheimer disease include poor judgment, difficulties in speaking, learning and writing, misplacing items, issues with carrying out simple tasks, intellectual functioning, disorientation in place and time, behavioral and mood changes and disinterest in daily activities. Patients also lack a sense of self and current circumstances. The memory problem is one of the major signs of cognitive impairment related to the chronic neurodegenerative disease. Individuals who struggle with these conditions may also have difficulties in movement and the sense of smell. Elderly people who suffer from mild cognitive impairment are at a great risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are many cases when the symptoms do not hinder patients from carrying out daily activities, and they can return to the normal cognition. In reality, the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease vary from individual to individual. Despite various estimates, healthcare specialists suggest that over 5 million Americans may develop this medical condition in the upcoming years (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010). Recent studies have shown that dementia symptoms and nature of this progressive disorder may significantly worsen over time. While at the early stage of the disease memory loss is moderate, in the last one, patients lose their ability to communicate, interact with the surrounding world and respond to the challenges that they face in a proper manner.
Advanced age is one of the main causes that lead to the development of this irreversible brain disorder. However, genetic and other risk factors may also affect emergence of the first symptoms. In addition to the well-known causes of irreversible and progressive brain disorder, accumulation of protein amyloid in the human brain also plays a crucial role. Not all experts, scientists and scholars recognize genuine causes of this common type of dementia in people, particularly the elderly. While genetic mutation can lead to the development of the disease, complex brain changes that occur in patients over decades characterize the most advanced stages of the disorder (Champney, 2015). The major causes of this common type of dementia include various factors. In addition to the genetic component, experts distinguish environmental and lifestyle aspects. Their importance in decreasing or increasing the risk of developing chronic neurodegenerative disease also differs depending on the patients’ conditions. The presence of apolipoprotein E gene serves as the reason to worry and consult a doctor (Gelb, 2011). However, individuals who have no APOE 4 may also get sick. Amyloid is a probable cause of developing the disease. Recognition of its role can help to prevent or stop the progress of disorder.
Clinicians apply specific methods and approaches to define in what way memory problems can affect the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In order to diagnose the disorder, a physician may ask about the overall health of patients and their family members as well as about their medical history (Goldstein & Morrison, 2013). They also pay particular attention to personal and behavioral changes and patients’ ability to implement similar tasks. In order to assist patients in struggling with Alzheimer’s, healthcare providers ask them to carry out medical tests to identify the main cause of the disease. They also conduct tests focusing on problem-solving, talking and counting. Individuals diagnosed with incurable brain disorder are required to undergo a brain scan, including magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography to identify the main cause of the disease and appoint adequate treatment. Doctors often repeat these tests since they provide valuable information concerning changes in patient’s memory and other cognitive functions. By examining brain tissues and taking other clinical measures, physicians can get a reliable diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Biopsy of the brain is the most reliable method of diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and many other common types of dementia. However, many countries use it only as a research methodology. Physicians are not aware of reliable factors that will allow predicting the course of the progressive brain disorder. It is often argued that a high level of education contributes to the slow course of the disease. In fact, proficient and educated patients also suffer from the condition. However, they notice the symptoms of the disease earlier and therefore consult a doctor at an early stage.
The life expectancy of patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease varies depending on the severity of memory loss disorder. Individuals who have thinking and memory concerns should consult healthcare specialists and determine whether their symptoms are caused by this chronic neurodegenerative disorder or other medical conditions such as a tumor, infection, sleep disturbance, Parkinson’s disease or side effects of prescribed medicines. Some of them are treatable while others are reversible. If Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed at an early stage of development and all the symptoms and patient’s health status are taken into consideration, prompt, effective medical care and appointment of adequate treatment can preserve patients’ daily functioning despite the fact that the underlying process is irreversible (Gelb, 2011). An early diagnosis enables clinicians to develop a comprehensive plan aimed at lessening burden of the disease on clients and their families. Moreover, individuals are provided with a great opportunity to participate in the research study and clinical tests aimed at developing new effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Patients and caregivers find sources of support and treatment options quite beneficial as early diagnosis and intervention have drastically improved in recent years and facilitated the life of every suffering client.
Due to the complex nature of irreversible brain disorder, it is impossible to treat it successfully even with the help of potent drugs and other serious interventions. However, the current, informed approach developed by clinicians and researchers significantly helps individuals to maintain their mental functioning and manage behavioral and disease symptoms in a proper manner. Experts and scholars continue to elaborate therapies with the focus on cellular, molecular and genetic mechanisms as they prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
In order to maintain patient’s mental functioning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently approved particular medicines for treating the memory loss disorder (National Institute on Aging, 2015). Unlike donepezil and memantine that are prescribed to treat severe and moderate conditions, physicians use rivastigmine and galantamine for moderate and mild conditions as well as Alzheimer’s disease (Ebenezer, 2015). These drugs ensure adequate regulation of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They promote communication skills, memory, thinking and learning and help patients cope with behavioral issues. Unfortunately, these medicines cannot change the underlying process of Alzheimer’s disease. While some patients find them effective, others enjoy positive effects only for a limited time.
Management of behavior is crucial, particularly for those who seek to lessen the burden of the common type of dementia. Aggression, nervous excitement, wandering and insomnia are the common behavioral symptoms of the disease (Krishnamoorthy, Prince, & Cummings, 2010). Today, scientists, researchers and scholars learn the causes of these warning signs and explore new adequate treatment, including drug and non-drug approaches to managing this medical condition. Recent research has demonstrated that effective treatment of behavioral symptoms helps patients to feel more comfortable and ease the work of healthcare providers.
Today, clinicians and other experts look for a new effective treatment that can reduce people’s suffering. In the recent years, medical research has reached a new level of development. Scientists have long gone beyond treating the symptoms and started thinking about how to address the underlying process of the disease (National Institute on Aging, 2015). Nowadays, scientists, doctors and researchers are involved in many clinical trials. They also develop and test new approaches such as physical activity, cognitive training, drugs and immunization therapies as well refer to treatments used for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (National Institute on Aging, 2015).
Alzheimer’s disease significantly affects brain, digestive, nervous and neuromuscular systems as well as the lifestyle of patients. Therefore, individuals with the advanced chronic neurodegenerative disease are dependent on healthcare providers and their professional assistance as they may almost forget about how to carry out basic tasks and daily activities (Goldstein & Morrison, 2013). These people may not recognize their family members and lose the ability to use muscles in a purposeful manner and their capacity to plan, rationalize, contemplate and interact with the surrounding world. Patients have difficulties in eating and breathing. Pneumonia is one of the main causes of death among individuals diagnosed with the incurable brain disorder. Alzheimer’s is primarily a disease of the central nervous system accompanied by damages of the brain and spinal cord. Digestive and neuromuscular systems are also affected.
The average life expectancy for progressive brain disorder is 6 to 10 years. It can be shorter or longer depending on the severity of the disease (Zanetti, Solerte, & Cantoni, 2009). The lifestyle of a patient significantly depends on taking prescribed medicines, family’s support and adherence to the doctors’ requirements.
Researchers continue to examine chronic brain disorder and related dementias. According to Gallucci (2015), almost 90 percent of information that the society knows about Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered in the last decades. Remarkable progress has been achieved in the study of brain functioning. Research is also committed in the global effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout the world, scientists and researchers currently investigate numerous potential approaches that can bring positive outcomes. They also highlight the necessity to develop disease-modifying treatments and preventive strategies with the focus on care and support of close people. Current research also seeks to prevent, delay, prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Through the development of adequate approaches, researchers hope to stop the destruction of brain cells.
Timely identification and comprehension of main causes of incurable brain disorder can considerably slow down the underlying process. Although current treatment addresses symptoms, physicians have to examine brain pathology deeply highlighting amyloid hypothesis, which will enable them to identify a perfect way to develop effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. It will help them to reach a new level of development as healthcare professionals. New approaches to treatment including immunotherapy enable physicians to hamper the progress of disorder, thus providing a patient with a hope of recovery.
The current paper has thoroughly explored Alzheimer’s disease, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment as well as organs and body systems affected by the disease, life expectancy of the patients, latest research into the issue and hypothesis about the cure for the disease. A better understanding of the current situation will lead to the development of new effective treatment. Recent research has demonstrated that the development of adequate approaches to treating behavioral symptoms helps patients feel more comfortable and ease the entire work of healthcare providers. A specific approach to the person’s treatment would significantly lessen the burden that the chronic neurodegenerative disease places on the society and individuals. It would also help patients and their families to combat this disorder in an effective manner.