Growing process of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
As we grow older, our body takes on a lot of physiological changes that can be threatening to our health. For most people it can be minor, but also it can be major, for instance Dementia and Alzheimer’s . These diseases both have to do with the function of the brain, Alzheimer’s affects the mental state by progressively losing its way of function, dementia has to do with the brain which causes memory loss and impaired reasoning. “Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias”(Alzheimer’s Association). With the physiological changes there is psychological changes, one should plan care according to the patient which includes the medications and treatment, that help reduce the growth of the disease by slowing it down.
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s, there is no exact examination that takes place its more of an interview the physician may have with the family assessing their behavior and weakness that have come along that they have noticed. There are three important major risk factors in developing both diseases which are; age, genetics, and family history, although there are other important risk factor studies are still being done in order to prove the others. Another assessment that may be done is a neurophysiological assessment which can encounter problems such as language complications, memory loss, attention span of the patient. Another test that is done is called the mini-mental state , ” simple test called the Mini-Mental State Examination is often used. This involves the person being asked to answer questions such as: What is the date? What city are we in? What is this called? (shown a watch). Another part of the test is to follow a series of simple instructions”(Alzheimer’s Europe). They also to be safe take urine and blood tests to make sure there is no underlying disease causing these complications. Other test that may be done are Magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, single photon emission computed tomography , and positron emission tomography. Dementia is also in some ways like Alzheimer’s in which there is no specific diagnosis, “There is no one test to determine if someone has dementia. Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia based on a careful medical history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day function and behavior associated with each type”, to further the accuracy of the tests, the patient have to see a specialist such as a neurologist.
Since these diseases affects the brains function this includes the ways of communication, the patients personality maybe different as well as their awareness which complicates the patients safety. In an article they consider the different kinds of memory loss to further understand the memory that is being affected which they talk about episodic memory which is the memory that holds life events that have occurred. “Within episodic memory, there are memories classed as short term (having happened in the last hour) and those classed as long term (having occurred more than an hour ago)”, as you can see in the written words above these memories can happen in span of events whether it is current or in the past (Alzheimer’s Europe). Although people with Alzheimer’s have a different pattern of memory loss that may affect their behavior, “People with Alzheimer’s disease, at the beginning of the illness, do not seem to have any difficulty remembering distant events but may, for example, forget having done something five minutes ago”, with this statement as you can see that Alzheimer’s has more of a short term memory affect that can brought up at the wrong time in which the patient can lash out (Alzheimer’s Europe) Episodic memory is more personal because it is from the patients memory, for semantic memory this describes words that is used in the day to day vocabulary. These memories are not located in the same place of the brain therefore they are not both affected at the same time , but they affect the ways of communicating with others. Another memory that can be affected is the procedural memory in which this affects the mental and physical capabilities of the body to perform certain tasks, for examples activities of daily living, their routines can become compromised. “People with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulties both in the production and comprehension of language which in turn lead to other problems. Many patients also lose the ability to read and the ability to interpret signs”(Alzheimer’s Europe). With communication being compromised it is hard to tell if the patient is having an episode or even hard to distinguish if they are in pain. With memory being a problem behavior plays an important role because of the outburst the patient can have. The mood of the patient changes severely.
Although there is no cure for Dementia or Alzheimer’s , there are specific treatments and medications that can be used in order to slow down disease from fully taking over. Medications that are used for Alzheimer’s are similar to the medications that are being used for Dementia , because of the similarity of the signs and symptoms. For Alzheimer’s these are the most common drugs used to help treat; Donepezil which treats all stages of Alzheimer’s is to treat confusion which can also improve the patients awareness and ability to function. Another medication that is commonly used is Rivastigmine which is to treat moderate Alzheimer’s , “Galantamine improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine (ah see til KO leen). People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning”(Multum 1 ). Another treatment that is not medication based is cognitive therapy in which is explained in an article, ” Cognitive stimulation activities are designed to stimulate thinking skills and engage people who have dementia. They are often group-based and include games, with an emphasis on enjoyment. Cognitive stimulation can be provided by health or social care staff with appropriate training”(Alzheimer’s research).
For some experiencing depression, anxiety, agitation and aggression, there are special treatments that may help them for instance for agitation one can use aromatherapy using specific scents to bring them peace and calm, music to distract them from their stress, and for depression of being alone there is animal assisted therapy, in which petting an animal or even seeing an animal will make them not feel so alone. In fact their has been many studies that have been done in order to pick apart the brain to see what they can find to find a cure or prevention. Researchers at Cambridge university have come across a study on prevention of Alzheimer’s stating, “The research by Cambridge University says one in three cases of the condition could be prevented by increased activity levels, a reduction in smoking and tackling health problems such as obesity and diabetes”(Donally 1). All things considered, dementia and Alzheimer’s play a very important risk to our lives as we age, further research and studies are being done to analyze the findings so we can collect the data in order to prevent or cure these harsh diseases.