Health, Epidemiology, And Statistics In Nursing Case Study
Part 1: Genetics and Epidemiology
For this paper’s purposes, the family health history of the Carson’s will be discussed. Gary Carson is a 23-year old male student who is already on his last year on University. He leads a very active and healthy lifestyle. He goes to the gym at least three times a week, plays basketball twice a week, and does cross fit trainings with his friends weekly as they prepare for obstacle races such as Rugged Mania and Zombie Run, among others. He also eats healthy and shuns cigarettes and alcohol. Despite these, Gary is predisposed to Alzheimer’s, a genetic disease which is common in his family. Both his grandparents on his father’s side have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before they passed away, and now, his grandfather on his mother’s side is also showing signs of the disease. Thus, Gary has a high chance of developing the disease on his later years because both sides of his family tree suffer from it.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the brain. It causes memory problems, which later on progresses to mental dysfunction. Patients diagnosed with it usually exhibit slow but steady memory loss, loss of language skills, problems on focusing and concentrating, and loss of sense of judgment. They also show remarkable changes in personality and behavior and have difficulty learning new tasks. It is the most common type of dementia that affects more than 5 million Americans today. As the aging population rises, it is expected that by 2050, the number of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) sufferers will have doubled already (De Fina, Moser, Glenn, Lichtenstein, & Fellus, 2013).
Its manner of progression varies from one person to another. If symptoms develop quickly, then the progression is more likely to be swift as well. What happens is that AD kills the brain cells. A healthy brain, for instance, has billions of neurons that create chemical and electrical signals to the brain that aids people to think, feel, and store information. In Alzheimer’s patients, these cells slowly deteriorate until they die, pushing the brain to function using low levels of neurotransmitters (Smith, Laxton, Tang-Wai, McAndrews, Diaconescu, Workman, & Lozano, 2012).
Causes for the development of AD are still vague, but there is evidence that points to various factors, including age, genes, oxidative damage to neurons due to the overproduction of toxic free radicals, brain injuries, and the environment as contributory to AD progression. Studies also reveal that mostly, AD cases fall under the sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, which develops due to the factors above. There is also what is called familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) which comprise of less than 10% of most of the AD cases known today. Scientists have also identified chromosomal mutations on chromosomes 1, 14, and 21 as a probable cause for the early development of Alzheimer’s in some patients. Additionally, inheriting one of the three forms of the apolipoprotein E (apoE) on chromosome 19 points to being one of the risk factors for developing late onset of AD. Another gene, chromosome 10, is said to boost development of Alzheimer’s in people who are susceptible to the disease (About Alzheimer’s).
Alzheimer’s, at the moment, has no specific cure that will stop its progression. However, medications are available to slow down its development in some people, such as lifestyle changes and medicinal supplements, to ensure that one still leads a quality life.
Part 2: Prevention or Screening Program Evaluation
There is nothing that will stop the development of Alzheimer’s, but there are ways to delay the onset or development of the disease. Non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions are available that enables people to enjoy life to the fullest despite the presence of Alzheimer’s. Non-pharmacological interventions such as lifestyle changes greatly enhance prevention and delay of the onset of the disease. This includes engaging in physical exercises, eating a healthy diet, and stimulation of the mental faculties through reading, mind games, and word games. It helps to feast on diets rich in omega-3 as well (Gauthier, Wu, Rosa-Neto, & Jia, 2012).
Another screening method associated with Alzheimer’s disease is checking the blood pressure of patients constantly. Through monitoring the systolic hypertension of individuals, a decline in cases of dementia can be associated in possibilities of decrease in AD patients as well. Studies revealed that when stroke us prevented, incidences of AD is also lessened (Gauthier, Wu, Rosa-Neto, & Jia, 2012). This can be done through a method called Markov Model Simulation, a community based dementia screening that aims to detect the onset or presence of Alzheimer’s in people. Screenings are announced to enable more people to join tests in order to come up with more conclusive results. Participants are classified to “nondemented, MCI, mild dementia, moderate dementia, severe dementia, and death” (Saito, Nakamoto, Mendez, Mehta, & McMurtray, 2014). Individuals are asked questions about their health and lifestyle, which are answerable by either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Within a period of one year, individuals will constantly be observed and tested the same questions to see if their condition has progressed to the next level or not. The success of such method is yet to be determined considering that a continuous study of the patients is required for a year to be able to make conclusive reports.
About Alzheimer’s. (n.d). Research. Retrieved from http://www.alzfdn.org/AboutAlzheimers/research.html
Davis, J., & Couch, R. (2014). Strategizing the development of Alzheimer’s therapeutics. Advances in Alzheimer’s Disease 3:107-127
De Fina, P.A., Moser, R.S., Glenn, M., Lichtenstein, J.D., & Fellus, J. (2013). Alzheimer’s disease clinical and research update for health care practitioners. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jar/2013/207178/
Gauthier, S., Wu, L., Rosa-Neto, P., & Jia, J. (2012). Prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s disease. Retrieved from http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/1/1/13
Saito, E., Nakamoto, B.K., Mendez, M.F., Mehta, B., & McMurtray, A. (2014). Cost effective community based dementia screening: A Markov model simulation. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijad/2014/103138/
Smith, G., Laxton, A.W., Tang-Wai, D.F., McAndrews, M. P., Diaconescu, A. D. D., Workman, C. I., & Lozano, A.M. (2012). Increased cerebral metabolism after 1 year of deep brain simulation in Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurology 69(9). Retrieved from http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1151857
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