Alzheimer’s disease has 2 pathologic hallmarks that include Extracellular beta-amyloid deposits
(in senile plaques) and Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (paired helical filaments). Synapses
and neurons are lost as a result of the beta-amyloid deposition as well as neurofibrillary tangles.
The end result is severe atrophy of the part of the brain that has been affected in the process. The
atrophy starts typically at the mesial temporal lobe. Research is still going on regarding the way
in which the neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid deposition causes such damage. However,
there are two theories that attempt to explain the process which the damage occurs. According to
the amyloid hypothesis, a cascade of events that result in the death of the neural cell, the loss of
the neural synapses as well as the progressive transmitter deficits occur when beta-amyloid is
progressively accumulated. The occurrence of the above events lead to the development of the
symptoms of dementia. The other theory argues that prion mechanisms have been identified in
Alzheimer’s disease. A prion which is a brain protein is misfolded which leads to the
development of a pathogenic form of the protein. The prion then influences the other prion
proteins to also undergo a similar misfolding and in so doing the number of abnormal proteins in
the brain increase significantly. The presence of the abnormal proteins in therefore leads to
Alzheimers disease. The people with Alzheimer’s disease have a problem with their memory in
such a way that they cannot go on with their day to day activities normally. The disease is
treated with the use of symptomatic therapy and they do not act on the evolution of the disease.
The medical interventions include a partial N -methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist and
cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs). Six drugs are used in the treatment of the disease namely
rivastigmine, galantamine, donepezil, memantine, memantine combined with donepezil, and
tacrine (tacrine is now discontinued in the United States). Other medications are also given to
treat the secondary symptoms. The methods affect the process of treating the patients due to the
fact that it improves the outcomes in the patients meaning that it is important in the management
of the disease (Gaugler, James, Johnson, Marin, & Weuve, 2019).
The clinical guidelines for assessment, diagnosis, and patient education for the disease
According to the guidelines, the initial way of evaluating the disease is through the observation
of its symptoms. All the middle aged individuals who have self-reported, whose caregiver or a
clinician has reported cognitive, behavioral or functional changes are supposed to be evaluated.
The symptoms should at no point be dismissed as “normal aging without carrying out the
necessary assessment. The evaluation process should not only involve the patient but should
also involve the caregiver too (Gaugler, James, Johnson, Marin, & Weuve, 2019).
In the process of diagnosis the doctors should identify the stage of the disease which may be
preclinical, mid-cognitive impairment and Alzheimer dementia. They are supposed to expand
the criteria for the assessment of Alzheimer dementia beyond memory loss and consider the
other aspects of cognition. They should understand the difference between the Alzheimer’s and
the non-Alzheimer’s dementia and they should recognize the potential use of biomarkers
(Gaugler, James, Johnson, Marin, & Weuve, 2019).
In the patient education and the disease process, the patient is supposed to be informed about the
cause of Alzheimer’s disease. They are also supposed to be briefed about the process of
diagnosis. The patient should also be given information regarding the treatment process, what
they can do to help themselves and the ways in which the medicine will help them (Gaugler,
James, Johnson, Marin, & Weuve, 2019).
How the disease process affects patients, families, and populations in communities
The patients suffer because of the symptoms of the disease in such a way that they lose their
memory periodically, something that makes them not to enjoy their lives as they ought to. The
families have to spend more time taking care of the patients and ensure that they comfortable.
The families also face a financial burden because of the fact that it creates an enormous strain on
the budget of the families and the federal budget due to the fact that the people with Alzheimer
have special needs that have to be met. The patients are forced to stop carrying out their day to
day activities then rely on the caregivers to provide the much needed care to them. The patients
is affected both physically and psychologically. The families are also affected by the disease.
The patient may end up losing his nor her life as a result of the disease. First of all the family
members are affected psychologically when they see that their loved one is suffering. They also
have to stop carrying out their day to day activities to take care of the patient. They will also
spend financial resources to take the patients to the hospital and to ensure that he or she gets the
right medication for the condition. The families also lose someone they loved as a result of the
disease (Gaugler, James, Johnson, Marin, & Weuve, 2019).
Three strategies you could use to implement best practices for managing the disease in your
current healthcare organization
The first strategy is to identify the national, regional and local policies and strategies that include
the prevention of dementia. An understanding of the strategies will be important in finding the
best way of dealing with the disease and in so doing the outcomes of the patients will be
improved. The other strategy is to identify the guidelines that have been put by the federal
government to implement the prevention and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The third
strategy is to evaluate and implement the guidelines on the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease at
the clinical level (Collins, Silarova, & Clare, 2019).
Collins, R., Silarova, B., & Clare, L. (2019). Dementia Primary Prevention Policies and
Strategies and Their Local Implementation: A Scoping Review Using England as a Case
Study. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 70(s1), S303-S318. doi:10.3233/jad-180608
Gaugler, J., James, B., Johnson, T., Marin, A., & Weuve, J. (2019). 2019 Alzheimer's disease
facts and figures. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 15(3), 321-387.