Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disorder of the brain. In all of the dementia cases, Alzheimer’s accounts for more than half. More than 2.5 million Americans alone have this disease, and these numbers have more than doubled.
Because Alzheimer’s is a primary progressive dementia disease, the prognosis is very poor. Most patients with Alzheimer’s die 2-15 years after the onset of symptoms. The average time of having this disease is about 8 years. This is a very low number compared to other various progressive/degenerative diseases, even of the brain. So far, there have been two recognized types of Alzheimer’s. Familial and Sporadic.
Familial Alzheimer’s is when genes directly are the culprit. This is much more rare than sporadic Alzheimers. In Sporadic Alzheimer’s, genes do not cause it, however they may influence the risk of developing the disease. Sporadic Alzheimer’s is much less predictable than familial and occurs in fewer family members. Although the cause of Alzheimer’s is still unknown, there are thought to be factors that contribute: Neuro chemical factors, such as deficiencies in the neurotransmitters. In familial Alzheimers, the person inherited an abnormal mutation in one of three genes : PS1, PS2, or APP. If someone has a of the mutated gene, they have a 50% chance of passing it to their kids. Almost everyone who inherits the mutated gene will develop Alzheimer’s.
Although it has not yet been determined how this mutated gene causes Alzheimer’s, it is understood that these mutation influence beta amyloid production. Beta Amyloid influences the production of amino plaques. The bottom of these plaques are toxic to nerve cells. Sporadic Alzheimer’s does not develop in one mutated gene Variations of the gene will influence if someone is more or less likely to be susceptible to Alzheimers.
In sporadic Alzheimer’s the most researched gene is APOE. APOE is responsible for producing of a protein that transports cholesterol and other fats throughout the body. It may also involved in the structure of the outer wall if a brain cell. There are three common forms of APOE: Epsilon 2, APOE epsilon 3, and APOE epsilon 4.
Someone will inherit one form of the gene from each parent. The gene form associated with sporadic Alzheimer’s is APOE epsilon 4. People who carry at least one type of this gene has a very high risk of developing sporadic Alzheimer’s. At least 35% to 50% of people with Alzheimer’s carry at least one APOE epsilon 4 gene. If someone carries two copies of APOE epsilon 4 will almost always develop Alzheimer’, and show symptoms at a much younger age.
In Alzheimer’s, the brain tissue has three features: Neurofibrillary tangles formed out of fibrous proteins in the neurons, beta amyloid plaques, and granulovalcular degeneration. Neurofibrillay tangles formed out of fibrous proteins in the neurons. If an individual has a high amount of beta amyloid plaques, the dementia will be more severe. This is because the Amyloid exerts neurotoxicity effects which brings about the death of neurons. There are many behavioral complications of Alzheimer’s. Many people with Alzheimer’s can have a very violent behavior at times. Other injuries can be caused by wandering around, or unsupervised activity.
If the patient does not receive enough physical activity, they are very susceptible to pneumonia and other possible life- threatening infections. They are also very susceptible to malnutrition and dehydration, especially if they are living alone or in a low level assisted living. This is because they will forget to drink water and eat if no one reminds them to. Alzheimer’s disease has an insidious onset.
In the very beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, the changes are almost invisible to see, but over time, they gradually lead to very serious problems. Early to middle stages can include forgetfulness, minor memory loss, difficultly understanding new information, inability concentrating, an deterioration in hygiene and appearance.