Alzheimer's disease : Overview, Symptoms, Risk Factor, Causes, Treatment and diagnosis - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Alzheimer's disease : Overview, Symptoms, Risk Factor, Causes, Treatment and diagnosis


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, resulting in loss of memory, imagination and speaking skills, and behavioural changes. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, among people aged 65 and older. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Alzheimer's disease : Overview, Symptoms, Risk Factor, Causes, Treatment and diagnosis

Alzheimers disease
What is Alzheimer?
  • Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder in
    which the death of brain cells causes memory loss
    and cognitive decline. A neurodegenerative type
    of dementia, the disease starts mild and gets
    progressively worse.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of
  • The word dementia describes a set of symptoms
    that can include memory loss and difficulties
    with thinking, problem-solving or language. These
    symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by
    certain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.
  • Alzheimer's is a progressive disease. This means
    that gradually, over time, more parts of the
    brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms
    develop. They also become more severe.
  • In 2010, some 4.7 million people of 65 years of
    age and older were living with Alzheimer's
    disease in the US.

  • Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA)-It occurs when
    there is damage to areas at the back and
    upper-rear of the brain.
  • These are areas that process visual information
    and deal with spatial awareness.
  • Early symptoms of PCA are often problems
    identifying objects or reading, even if the eyes
    are healthy. Someone may also struggle to judge
    distances when going down stairs, or seem
    uncoordinated (for example when dressing).
  • Logopenic aphasia itinvolves damage to the areas
    in the left side of the brain that produce
  • The person's speech becomes laboured with long
  • Frontal variant Alzheimer's disease-It involves
    damage to the lobes at the front of the brain.
  • The symptoms are problems with planning and
  • The person may also behave in socially
    inappropriate ways or seem not to care about the
    feelings of others.

Stages of Alzheimers disease
  • The progression of Alzheimer's can be broken down
    into three basic stages
  • Preclinical (no signs or symptoms yet)
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Dementia.
  • These three stages can be further broken down
    into seven stages

  • Alzheimer's disease damages and kills brain
    cells. A brain affected by Alzheimer's disease
    has many fewer cells and many fewer connections
    among surviving cells than does a healthy brain.
  • The total brain size shrinks with Alzheimer's -
    the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells
    and connections
  • People with Alzheimer's also have a shortage of
    some important chemicals in their brain. These
    chemical messengers help to transmit signals
    around the brain.
  • Tiny inclusions in the nerve tissue, called
    plaques and tangles.
  • Plaques are found between the dying cells in the
    brain - from the build-up of a protein called
  • The tangles are within the brain neurons - from a
    disintegration of another protein, called tau.

Risk factors
  • Age - the disorder is more likely in older
    people, and a greater proportion of
    over-85-year-olds have it than of over-65s.
  • Family history (inheritance of genes) - having
    Alzheimer's in the family is associated with
    higher risk. This is the second biggest risk
    factor after age.
  • Having a certain gene (the apolipoprotein E or
    APOE gene) puts a person, depending on their
    specific factors.
  • Neurological disorders- People with previous
    neurological disorders, such as Parkinsons or
    multiple sclerosis are at higher risk of
  • Infectious diseases Some brain infections such
    as chronic syphilis, chronic HIV, or chronic
    fungal meningitis can cause dementia.
  • Tumours Many primary and metastatic brain
    tumours can cause dementia.
  • Metabolic Disorders Thyroid dysfunction, some
    steroid disorders, and nutritional deficiencies
    such as vitamin B12 deficiency or thiamine
    deficiency are sometimes associated with
    cognitive impairment.

Continue Risk Factors
  • Psychiatry disorder In older persons, some forms
    of depression can cause problems with memory and
    concentration that initially may be
    indistinguishable from the early symptoms of
    Alzheimer's disease
  • Side effects of medications Many medicines can
    cause cognitive impairment, especially in elderly
    patients. Perhaps the most frequent offenders are
    drugs used to control bladder urgency and
  • Factors that increase blood vessel (vascular)
    risk - including diabetes, high cholesterol and
    high blood pressure.
  • Prior head injury- Increases the risk to many
  • Sleep disorders.

Early signs of Alzheimers
  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning and problem solving
  • Confusion with time and place
  • Difficulty completing familiar task at home,
    place or leisure.
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial
  • New problems with words in speaking and writing.
  • Decreased or poor judgement.
  • Withdrawal from work or social life
  • Misplacing things and decreasing the ability to
    retrace steps
  • Changes in mood and personality

  • Lab test-Blood tests may help your doctor rule
    out other potential causes of memory loss and
    confusion, such as thyroid disorders or vitamin
  • Mental status and neuropsychological
    testing-Conducting a brief mental status test to
    assess the memory and other thinking skills.
  • Brain imaging-Images of the brain are now used
    chiefly to pinpoint visible abnormalities related
    to conditions other than Alzheimer's disease
    such as strokes, trauma or tumors that may
    cause cognitive change.
  • Brain-imaging technologies include
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Cerebrospinal fluid. In special circumstances
    such as rapidly progressive dementia or very
    young onset dementia, a cerebrospinal fluid
    examination may be performed.

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs work by
    boosting levels of a cell-to-cell communication
    by providing a neurotransmitter (acetylcholine)
    that is depleted in the brain by Alzheimer's
  • Commonly prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors
    include donepezil (Aricept), galantamine
    (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon). The main
    side effects of these drugs include diarrhea,
    nausea, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances.
    In people with cardiac conduction disorders,
    serious side effects may include a slow heart
    rate and heart block.
  • Exercise and diet- Leading a healthy and active
    lifestyle can help the patients to overcome their
    symptoms and lead a normal healthy life.

Continue Treatments
  • Memantine (Namenda). This drug works in another
    brain cell communication network and slows the
    progression of symptoms with moderate to severe
    Alzheimer's disease. It's sometimes used in
    combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Side
    effects may include constipation, dizziness and
  • Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs- This
    drugs can release the symptoms for a particular
    time period. But this drugs can cause serious
    side effects as a confusion, dizziness, even
    severity of the symptoms.
  • Creating a safe and supportive environment-
    Alzheimer patients undergo mood swings, and
    certain emotional ups and downs. The patients
    should be handled with care and support from
    their surroundings and most importantly from
    family. Support from the close and loved ones can
    be their most important and successful treatment.

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