Alzheimer is a brain disorder that affects a person, causing the improper functioning of the brain. The disease affects the memory, thus rendering the person helplessly in taking care of himself. It is also associated with the presence of amyloid plaques that exist in the form of neurofribrillary tangles and amyloid aggregates causing mitochondrial dysfunction, which is hard to identify. This paper focuses on the functions of mitochondria and its relation, including pathological characteristics in relation to this disease. It also involves the pathogenic concepts, which show the underlying aspects of AD. The presence of Alzheimer becomes evident when the staff from the health profession performs a post mortem in brains and conducts a research on the animal AD and the cellular models to reveal how the tau protein leads to the mitochondrial dysfunction (Harris & Fahrenholz, 2005).
The aspects that cause the mitochondrial dysfunction reveal themselves in different ways, such as causing the impairment that affects the oxidative phosphorylation and hinders the elevation of active oxygen species in the production process. This problem also occurs when there is interference in mitochondrial dynamics and the mitochondrial proteins reaction. This also takes place in the presence of a single or several vicious cycles when they compete with each other, which leads to the synergistic destruction of the mitochondria.
Alzheimer is a disorder that is common in elderly people, especially if the average lifespan of people increases. The epidemic accounts for approximately 80 percent of cases in dementia, in human beings of old age. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has harsh repercussion in human life, as it causes death, especially to people that are above the age of 65 years. In 1906, Alois Alzheimer identified the causes of the epidemic, which were the forms of amyloids that contained plaques and proteins with microtubule characteristics.
Factors that accompanied these aspects included the proteins such as tau with neurofibrillary tangles. The unknown aspects are the underlying mechanisms in molecular form, which result in the session, in their end stage. In addition, mutations, such as autosomal dominant, have a small impact in contribution to AD. This raises the concern about the factors that lead to prevalence of sporadic matter before concentrating on the main aspects that cause Alzheimer disease. Research reveals mitochondrial dysfunction known in early forms of stress.
The evidence found out how this factor contributed to synaptic irregularities that resulted in choosing neuronal degeneration in line with Alzheimer’s disease. The situation posed many questions based on the disease and its causes. It further focused on whether the oxidative stress increased the rate of neurofibrillary tangles NFTs. This also raised concern if other mechanisms contributed in causing the oxidative stress or lesions such as various forms of pathologies. In the past years, there was the development of models that came out with various suggestions about the diverse impacts of this disease. These models existed in various forms ranging from the recent one that was the triple mouse model and involved the other models such as the double and the single models.
The models played a significant role in understanding of the mechanisms that involved the pathogens that created an impact leading to mitochondrial failure in AD and its cellular modifications.
The Past Behaviors Indicators
To detect the past behavior that causes the Alzheimer disease, there are symptoms noted in the patient that reflect on the past activities that lead to the epidemic. In relation to the past behaviors, we focus first on the various stages in which the disease affects people. The late onset Alzheimer affects individuals above the age of 65 years. On the other hand, AD that is an early onset affects people who fall in the age group of between 30 to 50 years; however, it affects people in these categories on rare cases.
The behaviors of the affected individuals in both stages are similar because it involves slow revolution characterized by plateaus that takes effect in an occasional manner. Concerning the past behavior, patients with AD experience the loss of memory; this is usually the first sign to appear in most cases and it happens with mild effects. The affected individuals experience difficulties to recall the activities that take place on a certain day even though they participated in the events. They forget details such as the names of the people they relate with, their telephone contacts, and the dialogue they had during the day. During the early stage of the disease, the affected individuals retain the memories of past about few people. They also maintain the recent facts they learn in the course of their life, but all these become irrelevant and gets out of their memory at the late stage of this disease.
At the beginning stage when an individual gets the disease, he has problems to identify the correct word, and become incapable of taking notes. Patient also find it hard to read stuff from various fields with a variety of topics and the main reason is that, the person lacks a sense in them when dealing with such issues in their conditions, unlike the way it was it in the past. The situation becomes worse with time, cases of the memory loss become obvious to the point that a person finds it hard to remember basic things such as the days of the month. It also affects people in a way that they find it hard to trace familiar things in their past such as their own environment.
When AD progresses the affected persons becomes depressed, and 8 percent of people with the problem experiences cases of insomnia. Other frequent behaviors include individuals having rigid muscles, stooped postures, moving in a slow manner and experience the shuffling gaits. Delusions become common during this stage, and others reveal their psychotic behaviors while others become more agitated with aggressive behaviors. Individuals also experience hallucinations during the early stages, but the situation affects only 20 percent of the population. The consequences of the past behaviors reveal themselves in that people become totally helpless, as they approach the late stage of the disease. This affects the victims in a way that they cannot perform any basic task without getting support from others. The other past behaviors indicators of AD include improper functioning of brains which results in different perceptions of familiar events in the affected person’s life. These past behaviors in turn make people suffer from the frustration, fear and anger because the disorder affects their memories and actions, how they functioned, under normal conditions, in their past. In some cases, people became confused in life, and their level of attention reduced which always led to mood swings. These behavior indicators or symptoms tend to be mild to the point a person fails to comprehend that he is suffering from AD disease.
The same condition applies to people close to him such as his family members and those attending him like the health professionals; they fail to realize that person they relate to mostly is suffering from Alzheimer disease.
The Affected People
Alzheimer affects people in a way that it has a range of differing factors depending on the individual, and this implies that, from a group, a number of people are likely to get the disease while others cannot get it. The following are factors that determine the people, whom the disease affects, and one of them is the age. The number of years of a person affects in a way that, from a group of twenty people aged 65 years and above, a single person gets Alzheimer disease.
In a population with people under the age of 65 years, the disease affects less than one individual. People affected with this disease tend to forget things easily as time moves by, although in some cases, those aged 80 years retain the alertness of their mentality. This implies that the rate at which AD spreads in people depends on the increasing age and not the old age itself. Research conducted recently reveals that the problems that arise because of age fall under the aspects that contribute to this disease. People live for a long time nowadays, and this reveals how the disease spread will increase, due to the availability of many old people in the society.
Studies reveal that, the disease targets women, in the society, unlike men and this implies that if people from both sex had to live without suffering from other forms of diseases, the number of people suffering from AD would be the same regardless the age factor. This disease also affects people who got the head injuries at some point in their life. The risk is high when a person looses consciousness or when involved in an accident especially when he is 50 years and above. The disease also affects people because of the hereditary genes especially if one of the parent’s DNA has dominant genes that resulted in the disorder.
If the disease becomes family based, it affects the family members of low age ranging from 30 to 60 years unlike in other cases. The presence of the Down syndrome in children subjects them in acquiring AD when they reach the middle age. However, this disease does not affect people based on their races, social and geographical status although studies reveal that people with high education are at risk. The disease affects them easier when contrasted to their counterparts with lesser education.
The Stages of Alzheimer Disease
There are three stages that present how the disease affects people, these stages involve fluctuating symptoms, but in the end, a person can predict the progress of the disease. Averagely, it takes approximately ten years, which determines the life span of people after treatment, but the disease can last in a person for a period up to 20 years before he dies. During the disease’s various stages, it does not affect all individuals in the same manner, but its signs increase in these stages (Alzheimer Association, 2011). The first stage is mild, which lasts for approximately 4 years and the least period it takes is two years.
During its early stage, those suffering from this disease tend to lose energy and operate in a spontaneous way. It is during this stage that the victims reveal their minor signs, including loss of memory and going through unnecessary moods. In the process, they find hard to learn and react to the basic activities in life, which they initially managed to handle. At mild stage, such individuals always want to live in solitude when they avoid the new places and people.
During this stage, they only want to relate with familiar people. In addition, the events in their life commonly become confusing. They also have poor planning and organization skills. They lose their concentration easily, and they are poor when it comes to making decisions and judgments.
The affected people find hard to perform their daily tasks because of the communication problems and, as a result, they have trouble in understanding content in written form. The loss of memory affects their job performance and, in most cases, such individuals appear to be frustrated and angry. There are distinct behaviors that affect people during this stage, and they include finding hard to manage their finances and fulfill their responsibilities, such as paying bills. When they engage in conversations, they tend to repeat themselves by asking many questions, and they work extraordinarily taking a long period to accomplish basic tasks.
They misplace and forget where they placed things they used previously, and they become acutely different from their previous self as the moods changes automatically. The second stage is moderate, and it is the longest stage that can last up to ten years or take a minimum of two years. This stage reveals clear signs of disability of the individuals suffering from AD, since it is hard for them to perform complicated activities unless they get support from other people.
At this moderate stage, they forget the recent activities, history of their personal life and lose connection with the realities. They confuse what they manage to recall about the distant and the recent past, and this affect the individual capability of comprehending the current activities that involve elementary aspects such as recalling the time and date. They find hard to recognize people that they related to in the past, as well as deliver a speech. Writing and reading are common problems that the person faces at this stage. Wandering becomes part of their life as they find it unsecure to be alone, and when the victim become aware of their situation, they live a depressive life.
The patients are always irritated, withdrawn, and they spend most of their time in a restless and hopeless state. They do not take their meals well as usual, and they always have a problem with dressing and sleeping in a peaceful way. The third stage is severe, which takes one to three years to last. It is worse in a way that people become helpless to the point of failing to eat on their own. It is during this final stage that victims become unable to deliver a speech and identify the people. Controlling their bodily functions also becomes a problem to them as they find difficult to swallow their meals and control their bladders. To this point, they lose their memory entirely. They develop common behaviors such as sleeping while moaning and at this stage, they always require constant care from people who are close to them. Their physical state appears to be weak, and they are prone to other diseases that affect their skin and respiratory system; they cannot move freely either.
The Normal Life Span
There are factors that determine the normal lifespan of an individual after diagnosis to reveal the presence of AD in their system. After diagnosis, women stayed for 4.6 years averagely while men took only 4.1 years of survival. When diagnosed people were younger than 70 years old, they lived in a period of 10.7 years, as contrasted to those over 90 years of age who only stayed for only 3.8 years after they tested and identified AD in their system. Patients who showed signs of frail did not take long to survive after diagnosis. The average life span of a person with AD is 4.5 years.
How Patients Receive Treatment
It is worthwhile noting that, when a person is suffering from the memory loss, it does not mean that he is suffering from Alzheimer disease. Loosing memory is common and, in some circumstances, people tend to forget their recent or past activities. Therefore, before diagnosing AD, it is crucial to put into consideration the issues of memory in relation to Alzheimer disease. This is because the doctors do not consider the loss of memory alone without having other issues that affect a person in his daily life. This assists in providing evidence that a person is suffering from AD. Doctors are the only people who determine if a person has the disease, by incorporating techniques, while diagnosing the patient. These techniques involve carrying out examination, exploring of the person’s history, checking physical state and blood test to confirm that the disease is the AD.
Doctors handle the situation after identifying the characteristics, such as the neurological features, and ensure that the other aspects are absent. They use the advanced technologies with computers to reveal the subtypes of AD and further test the memory to know the state of the disorder. Medical professionals carry out the brain post mortem test to see how seriously the patient is affected and prescribe him with the relevant medication. The caregivers also give advice to the patient how to proceed with his life despite his condition. They also carry out tests to measure the victim’s rate of depression to determine if it is the reason of this situation.
The Research Done in Relation to AD
The experts are concentrating on preventive measures aimed at curbing the problem. Various studies test the effectiveness of therapy for people, who lack the signs of the AD, to show that they are affected, while they have a slight problem in their memory system. This is done through incorporation of studies on different antioxidants and drugs that are anti-inflammatory, and researches about estrogen relation to AD. Scientist developed the preventive initiative with assistance of the National Institute of Aging NIA to speed up the basic research that could entirely prevent Alzheimer from spreading (Perry, 2006). In order to facilitate this process, doctors use data from the environment and genetic studies that may provide information that causes the disease.
NIA plays a significant role in the research by formulating a five-year-old project to speed up the process of finding a new vaccine. Researchers have come up with novels to educate the public on how people can avoid the disease. The study investigates on the other forms of dementia and helps in sampling age and its changes in relation to the normal brains.
How the Care Givers are affected
Taking care of the patients affects the caregivers on short or long-term basis, which depends on the condition of the patient. The main caregivers in this case are usually people who are close to the patient such as the family members. These people pass through difficult times in attending the AD victim, and it becomes a burden to them, especially if the situation takes a long time. The people responsible for offering care to the sick suffer psychologically, socially, physically, and they experience difficulties to survive in the economy as the needs of the patient increase. Patients with AD prefer home based care, but the options call for costly care as it involves inviting doctors to attend the patient while at home. This process of handling the sick affects the caregivers as they risk getting the mental disorders and experiencing the physical problems. Patients with AD often hallucinate, have moods swings and depression and isolate from others, and this directly affects the caregivers because they are always close to them. If the situation persists, the caregiver gets a long-term effect. If the patient suffers for a short time, the caregivers also experience a short time effect in handling the AD patients (Callone, 2006).
In conclusion, Alzheimer disease is a brain disease associated with problems in the memory, thinking and behavioral character of the victim. Essentially, Alzheimer is an abnormal element of the aging. Alzheimer disease has a few stages, and it is progressing over time. At present, there is no remedy for this disease, but drug and non-drugs therapy help significantly in the cognitive and behavioral change.