Physiology of Alzheimer’s
There are a multitude of diseases these days that we are able to diagnose, but are not able to cure. We are not able to give loved ones the individual they want back. Alzheimer’s disease is one of these devastating diseases which we can diagnose, but not cure, and watch the individual slowly slip away from the world.
We’re hopping onto a whole new topic. Similar to the first ever blog post I wrote, this will be focusing on the physiology behind Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Alzheimer’s disease? “Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that affects a person’s ability to function independently” (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). Alzheimer’s affects people mostly over the age of 65, and is a progressive disease. As I have explained before, losing a loved one to this disease is something that is truly heartbreaking. To continue, “The early signs of the disease include forgetting recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s disease will develop severe memory impairment and lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks.” Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. There is, however, medications to slow down the progression of this disease.
Dr. Hahr explains that “Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that is resulted from increased plasma osmolality both the excessive consumption of animal-based proteins and reduction of sodium intake, that resulted to increase plasma osmolality. When we are exposed to high animal-based protein diets throughout life, we gradually lose extracellular sodium and the body cannot retain water, resulting in a gradual rise of plasma osmolality.” (Plasma osmolality is just the measure of electrolytes and water, as well as other solutes, in plasma).
Alzheimer’s starts with amyloid plaque and tau build up in the brain. These two substances are essentially proteins, and can often be seen due to genetic factors. The brain is then unable to clear this plaque efficiently. This build-up and the tangles of the proteins then lead to loss of synapses and neurons. These are also common symptoms of Alzheimer’s: “Loss of short-term memory (eg, asking repetitive questions, frequently misplacing objects or forgetting appointments). Other cognitive deficits tend to involve multiple functions, including the following: Impaired reasoning, difficulty handling complex tasks, and poor judgment (eg, being unable to manage bank account, making poor financial decisions), Language dysfunction (eg, difficulty thinking of common words, errors speaking and/or writing), Visuospatial dysfunction (eg, inability to recognize faces or common objects)… Behavior disorders (eg, wandering, agitation, yelling, persecutory ideation) are common.”
I know this is a lot of information for one to absorb. I do hope to progress on this in coming posts to build and figure out to how to relieve some tension off of this problem.
Alzheimer Disease (Alzheimer’s Disease) By Juebin Huang, By, Huang, J., & Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021. (n.d.). Alzheimer disease — neurologic disorders. Merck Manuals Professional Edition. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/delirium-and-dementia/alzheimer-disease.
Dementia vs. alzheimer’s disease: What is the difference? Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/difference-between-dementia-and-alzheimer-s.
Hahr, J. Y. (2015). Physiology of the alzheimer’s disease. Medical Hypotheses, 85(6), 944–946. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2015.09.005
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, June 26). Alzheimer’s disease. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350447.
The pathophysiology of alzheimer’s disease begins with amyloid beta accumulation in the brain: Identify alzheimer’s disease (ad) — biogen. The Pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s Disease Begins With Amyloid Beta Accumulation in the Brain | Identify Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) — Biogen. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.identifyalz.com/en_us/home/pathophysiology/pathophysiology-of-alzheimers-disease.html.
What is alzheimer’s disease? New Scientist. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.newscientist.com/definition/alzheimers-disease/.