The present paper focuses on the Alzheimers disease and its peculiar aspects. To be more precise, pathophysiology of the disease is investigated as well as diagnostic testing and treatment modalities. The given study employs credible and valid sources that support the course of research. Furthermore, the given data is regarded from perspective of nursing practice, patient education and patient safety. Alzheimers disease is considered to be a challenge that requires cooperation of healthcare expertise, consistent treatment, and proper attitude of the patient.
The phenomenon of Alzheimers disease (hereinafter, AD) is a neurodegenerative dysfunction that is irreversible and progresses permanently (Aprahamian, Stella &Forlenza, 2013). The scholars define the given disease as the leading cause of dementia worldwide, affecting more than half of the overall number of demented individuals, which has been estimated to be around 24 million across all nations (Aprahamian, Stella &Forlenza, 2013, p. 449). It is a serious hazard on the global scale as far as there is no efficient approach to dementia prevention (Aprahamian, Stella &Forlenza, 2013). The available preventive measures are primarily symptomatic and fail to cure dementia, especially when it becomes epidemic.
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There are three stages of Alzheimers disease, namely, mild, moderate, and severe (Anderson, 2016). The core pathological hallmarks of the given disease include extracellular senile plagues and neurofibrillary tangles (hereinafter, NFT) (Rege, Geetha, Griffin, Broderick &Babu, 2014). The major symptoms of the mild stage of disease are loss of memory, problems with performing daily tasks, and compromised judgment. In addition, particular changes in personality may be observed as well as unstable mood and anxiety (Anderson, 2016).The moderate stage of Alzheimers disease involves such signs as reduced attention span and further loss of memory; agitation and delusions; deficit of logical thinking and reiteration of particular statements, questions and even movements (Anderson, 2016). No impulse control and difficulties in recognition of close people are also vivid symptoms of the currently discussed disease. The severe stage of the disease is characterized by such symptoms as considerable weight loss, augmented amount of sleeping hours, different infections of the skin, and deficit of bowel and bladder control (Anderson, 2016). During the final stage of AD, the patient stays in bed primarily. Aspiration pneumonia usually develops and precedes the death from AD.
AD is often combined with other serious illnesses as a result of ageing, such as diabetes mellitus. The overall condition of the patient is considerably worse in case if AD and diabetes progress simultaneously. The links between these disorders are regarded as a postulate in the current course of time but, according to Akter et al. (2010), active research is conducted in the field of concern.
Anderson (2013) provides three methods for diagnostic testing of AD, namely, clinical examination, imaging study, and lumbar puncture. Clinical examination relies on the presence of the aforementioned symptoms and hallmarks in patients case, and, as a rule, is conducted at the mild stage of AD development. Use of imaging studies is exceptionally important in order to detect and identify properly the causes of AD that are potentially treatable at the given stage of the disease progressing. Such causes may be subdural hematoma or normal-pressure hydrocephalus (Anderson, 2013). Finally, the lumbar puncture is employed for diagnostics purpose. The rationale for its use is as follows: levels of tau and phosphorylated tau in the cerebrospinal fluid are often elevated in AD, whereas amyloid levels are usually low (Anderson, 2013). Nonetheless, the given method is recommended for research settings, not for regular use in healthcare practice.
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According to Clinical practice guideline for dementia. Part I: diagnosis & evaluation, treatment modalities of AD are diverse, but the most fundamental one includes preventive measures. Aggarwal, Shah and Bennett (2015) provide an innovative insight into the potential of treatment modalities of AD. The scholars connect these modalities to the core markers of AD, such as amyloid beta, genetics, and cerebrospinal fluid (Aggarwal, Shah & Bennett, 2015). Thereby, the following treatment strategies are discussed in the given context: Amyloid-based treatments, metabolic approaches to cure AD, secretase targeted treatments, enzymatic clearance, amyloid beta immunotherapy, and amyloid beta aggregation inhibitors use (Aggarwal, Shah & Bennett, 2015). Furthermore, the researcher also delineated the promising emerging approaches to the AD treatment. The preventive measures among these emerging strategies refer to the use of biomarker profiles, cognitive endpoints, or a combination of both in cognitively unimpaired persons at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (Aggarwal, Shah & Bennett, 2015). The innovative interventions also involve genetic risk-factor influence and monoclonal antibody therapy (Aggarwal, Shah & Bennett, 2015). Nevertheless, treatment of AD is a challenging and complicated process that does not provide complete cure, but primarily only symptomatic assistance. Therefore, potential treatment modalities for AD are studied and developed in the current course of time in order to produce an effective optimal solution for the dementia threat in general, and the given disorder in particular.
The information about AD provided above is of considerable importance for masters prepared nurses as far as it delineates the core symptoms as well as hallmarks of the disorder, and at the same time aligns the AD signs with correspondent treatment modalities. Furthermore, the data acquired during the research highlight the fundamental challenges and drawbacks of the current stage of medicine development in the sphere of AD treatment. Hence, masters prepared nurses obtain a general holistic picture of AD, and a sufficient background for further in-depth exploration.
The masters prepared nurse can employ the acquired information in order to design a patient education session for the patients with AD. To be more precise, the introductory part of the session will feature a brief historical record of AD development; the main part of the session will include a detailed discussion of the hallmarks, symptoms and signs of each stage of AD progression as well as appropriate treatment approaches and strategies; the next part will be an empirical one, and it will be dedicated to the important issues patients should take into consideration in order to alleviate severity of AD symptoms or prevent entering the next stage of the disorder; finally, the conclusions and recommendations will summarize the whole session. It is recommended to organize an additional education session for close people of the patients so as to emphasize particular aspects of treatment and hazards of the disorder.
The issue of patient safety is crucial in the context of AD treatment since the symptoms the disorder causes may provoke not only general helplessness and anxiety of the patient, but also irrelevant deeds, especially in public places, which may lead to incidents. Therefore, it is crucial to inform patients and their close people as much as possible about potential hazards of their condition, and ensure that they are not left alone for a long time. Hence, this cooperation is needed in order to guarantee treatment efficiency and safety of the patients with AD.
Thus, the AD is a complicated and irreversible disorder that is regarded as a challenge for the contemporary healthcare system. It requires cooperation of healthcare experts, consistent treatment, and proper attitude of the patient to the curing process. The most important data presented in the given paper concern the framework of symptoms according to which AD may be diagnosed, and potential curing strategies. The most challenging aspect is related to the emerging approaches of AD treatment as far as they may eliminate irreversibility of the dysfunction and prevent dementia progress on the global scale.