Alzheimer's Disease Is a Fatal Neurological Condition Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1035 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a fatal neurological condition that typically appears first in elderly individuals; it is a progressive disease with no cure that causes the gradual deterioration of cognitive functions, eventually rendering patients completely incoherent and unable to process cognitive information or to communicate (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008). The only definitive way to formally diagnose Alzheimer's disease is through a post-mortem identification of tangled neuron bundles and amyloid plaque at autopsy. However, the symptoms of the disorder are distinctive enough that they permit a practical diagnosis for the purpose of treatment (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008).

While there is no way to stop the progression of the disease yet, early diagnosis is a benefit because it permits caretakers and patients to mitigate some of the negative consequences by adopting behavioral adaptations conducive to the comfort, safety, and health of patients and to the minimization of the burden the disease typically places on loved ones and other caretakers (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008). Generally, Alzheimer's begins after the age of 60, although there are also less frequent cases of early-onset Alzheimer's among much younger individuals.

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The disease begins and progresses very gradually, so much so, that it's earliest symptoms of mild forgetfulness and other cognitive decline are very often assumed to be functions of advanced age without any clinically relevant pathology (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008). In fact, there are so many similarities between ordinary age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's that it is now believed that, for decades, millions of cases of Alzheimer's went unrecognized with the symptoms of the disease blamed on senile dementia. In many Alzheimer's patients, the disease may continue to progress over the course of approximately seven years from first onset of symptoms to death (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Alzheimer's Disease Is a Fatal Neurological Condition Assignment

Initially, Alzheimer's begins with mild symptoms that are indistinguishable from ordinary age-related cognitive decline such as memory problems and general reduction in awareness and ability to care for one's self independently (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008). Thereafter, Alzheimer's patients experience a continual decline in their memory, ambulation, balance, and their ability to communicate with others. Unfortunately, if the patient is otherwise healthy, Alzheimer's disease ultimately progresses to complete cognitive incapacity, inability to communicate or understand others, and frequently, even the ability to recognize loved ones, including even caretaking spouses. Physical symptoms of the disease include loss of vestibular integrity, inability to walk, and incontinence. By the time of their death, most Alzheimer's patients require complete care that usually exceeds the capacity of loved ones to provide without professional assistance (Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, 2008).

Reference

Taylor C, Lillis C, and LeMone P. (2008). Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Nursing Care. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.

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In the contemporary age of modern industry and production, it has become quite common for work to continue round the cock, typically in connection with three 8-hour work shifts often referred to as first, second, and third shift (Lamond, Dorrian, Roach, et al., 2003). The last shift is nearly universally referred to as the "graveyard" shift, presumably because in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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