Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease:  The cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown.  Several  factors are thought to be implicated.  They include;  Neurochemical factors, such as deficiencies in the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, somatostatin, , substance P, and norepinephrine; viral factors, environmental factors, and genetic immunologic factors.

This presenile dementia accounts for over half of all dementias.  The brain tissue of patients with primary degenerative dementia has three features:  neurofibrillary tangles, neuritic plaques, and granulovascular degeneration.  Prognosis:  Poor.

Symptoms:

Onset is insidious.  Initial changes are almost imperceptible, but they gradually progress to serious problems.

Forgetfulness

Recent memory loss

Difficulty remembering and or learning

Deterioration in personal hygiene and appearance

Inability to concentrate

later signs:  Difficulty with abstract thinking and activities that require judgment

Difficulty communicating

Severe deterioration in memory, language, and motor function

Repetitive actions or perseveration

Personality changes, such as restlessness and irritability

Nocturnal awakenings

Disorientation

Urinary or fecal incontinence

Patient may develop twitching and seizures

Death commonly results from an increased susceptibility to infection

Treatment:

No cure or definitive treatment for Alzheimer's exists.

Doctor may prescribed: a cerebral vasodilators to enhance the brain's circulation

Hyperbaric oxygen to increase oxygen supply to the brain

Psychostimulation to enhance the patient's mood

Antidepressants if the depression seems to exacerbate the patient's dementia

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