Sample Healthcare Paper on Alzheimer Disease

Introduction

            This essay will explore/discuss Alzheimer Disease; it will specifically present its causes (inherited congenital or acquired somatic), characteristics, prognosis, as well as its prevention. It will then research how it’s diagnosed and treated (for health preservation and not for a cure). According to Sterner, Takahashi & Aimee (2016), Alzheimer Disease ruins the brain including other major mental functions. In general, this condition doesn’t require imaging or lab tests, but a medical diagnosis is required. It is chronic and can be lifelong or may last for years. Alzheimer Disease may not be cured, but medical interventions can help to relieve the patient.

This disease/condition is also called senile dementia. Common alternate names include (1) Alzheimer sclerosis, (2) Alzheimer dementia, and (3) Alzheimer-type dementia. Heppner, Ransohoff & Becher (2015) state that data collected in 2019 reveal that around 5.8 million individuals in the U.S. live with this disease. The majority (5.6 million) are citizens above 65 years, while 200,000 are younger and suffer from younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Medicare claims statistics show that many Hispanics and African Americans above 65 suffer from this condition when compared to other people; Hispanics 14%, Blacks 13%, Whites 10%, Native Americans 9%, and Asians 8%. According to Murphy (2018), the initial-onset form of the disease is normally inherited via an autosomal dominant way. This implies that Alzheimer’s may be caused by a single copy of the affected gene in every cell. Generally, Alzheimer’s emanates from mutations in any of the following genes PSEN2, PSEN1, or APP. Heppner, Ransohoff & Becher (2015) reveal that the condition may also be influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors.

A common feature of Alzheimer’s is the inability to recall recent events; this is an initial symptom. As it advances, disorientation, problems with language, behavioral issues, loss of motivation, and mood swings are experienced. In regards to it prognosis, it’s a neurodegenerative condition; this implies that symptoms worsen with time and results in a higher degree of dependence. Alzheimer’s ordinarily progresses via various stages (dementia, and mild cognitive impairment). It starts from mild cognitive impairment; the individuals experience memory issues but are still independent and can live normal lives (Murphy, 2018). When it reaches the dementia stage, the individuals begin to experience difficulty when doing simple tasks and need assistance. There is mild dementia (where the person/patient can still do simple tasks) as well as severe dementia (the individual can’t walk or speak and has totally lost independence).

The average survival period after the onset of this disease is about 5.7 years (Heppner, Ransohoff & Becher, 2015). Death normally occurs during the last stage, where the individual begins to moan, groan, and grunt. Before death, individuals normally experience difficulty eating and swallowing. For its diagnosis, there is a specific medical workup involving CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) that is used for structural imaging. The test is mainly done to exclude diseases with similar symptoms. Murphy (2018) states that the diagnosis is done when a person complains of memory problems, especially when he/she is past middle age.

In general, Alzheimer Disease can’t be cured (Sterner, Takahashi & Aimee, 2016). Nevertheless, treatment involves some medications and management plans that briefly reduce the symptoms and manage behavioral symptoms. Common medications are cholinesterase inhibitors that are offered to patients suffering from mild/moderate Alzheimer’s. Examples of medications are donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine. To conclude, the main symptoms of this condition/disease are confusion and memory loss. The brain cells and their connection deteriorate and die leading to memory loss and loss of many key mental functions.

 

References

Heppner, F. L., Ransohoff, R. M., & Becher, B. (2015). Immune attack: the role of inflammation in Alzheimer disease. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(6), 358.

Murphy, M. P. (2018). Amyloid-beta solubility in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sterner, R. M., Takahashi, P. Y., & Aimee, C. (2016). Active vaccines for Alzheimer disease treatment. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 17(9), 862-e11.