The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive overview of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including symptoms, staging treatments and behavioral management.
Upon completion of this course, one should be able to do the following:
- Differentiate between early and late on set of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
- List and describe at least 5 other causes of dementia.
- Explain the changes that occur within the brain in the course of Alzheimer’s disease.
- List and explain the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Discuss medication choices to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
- Describe behavioral management techniques.
- Explain typical behavioral signs of Alzheimer’s, such as wandering and sundowning.
People don’t like to acknowledge that they or someone in the family has Alzheimer’s disease; however, it will touch almost every family. As stated by the Alzheimer’s Association “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050 this number projected to be close to 14 million Americans. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States :
- Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is most common occurring in those over age 65 and affects 5 million Americans. 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. By age 71, 16% of women and 11% of men have developed Alzheimer’s disease. By age 80 almost 50% of people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Although more women have Alzheimer’s disease than men, this is accounted for by women’s longer life expectancy rather than a gender risk factor. The cause for Alzheimer’s is not clear, but there appear to be a number of factors, such as lifestyle and risk factor genes, which may put a person at increased risk. There also appears to be a direct correlation between education and Alzheimer’s disease. Those with higher education have lower rates of Alzheimer’s, even when data is adjusted for other factors; however, researchers aren’t sure why this is true.
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease affects another 200,000 people, with onset before age 65. Usual onset is in the 50s although some may experience symptoms in their 40s and in rare cases as early as 29. Early onset of Alzheimer’s is inherited, related to a defective gene on chromosome 1, 4 or 21. The symptoms are the same as for late-onset Alzheimer’s although the progression may be more rapid.