Exploring Alzheimer's Disease Essay

1024 Words 5 Pages
Exploring Alzheimer's Disease

Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders requires several criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia. These include impairment in memory, disturbances in cognitive and executive functioning, and impairment in occupational or social functions. Cognitive disturbances may include one or more of the following: aphasia, apraxia, and agnosia. Cognitive deficits must demonstrate decline from previous levels of functioning and are characterized by gradual onset. Furthermore, cognitive disturbances must not be due to other central nervous system and or systemic disorders that are known to cause dementia or are accounted for by another psychiatric disorder. It
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Clinical Features

Alzheimer's typically begins with the onset of amnesia, followed by aphasia, apraxia, agnosia and then impaired executive functioning. Aphasia is characterized by difficulty naming and recognizing words and vague and empty speech. In apraxia, the patient has impaired performance of routine tasks despite preserved sensorimotor function. Agnosia involves the inability to recognize objects and familiar faces. Apraxia symptoms include impaired performance of routine tasks despite preserved sensorimotor function. Following the above, impaired executive functions with judgement, reasoning and the ability to plan, execute, and monitor activities procede.

Symptoms and complications of Alzheimer's include anosagnosia (Alzheimer's patients are unaware of their impairment). They fail to take pro-active steps toward minimizing the impact of their impairment on their safety, finances and other concerns. Patients often resist well intended assistance and develop various behavioral disturbances. These often include the following: suspiciousness, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, wandering and pacing, verbal and physical aggression, apathy and social withdrawal, repetitive behaviors, sleep disturbances, depression, and other behaviors that are unusual, unsafe, or socially inappropriate.


Alzheimer's disease is characterized neuropathologically by the presence of B-amyloid peptide containing plaques and

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