INTRODUCTION•Historically, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is considered the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 50 to 70 percent of all cases (Alzheimer’s Association, 2017). AD is an age-related, progressive, and irreversible neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive and memory impairment (Bennett, Arnold, Valenzuela, Brayne, & Schneider, 2014).•It is slowly progressive and can run over 5-10 years. Slow progressive brain disorder with long prodromal course causing cognitive decline•Begins with learning impairment and recent memory loss. Initially presents with mild confusion and memory loss. A frontal lobe gait imbalance appears. Steps are short, and shuffled, difficulty turning•Anomia, aphasia, acalculia, spatial disorientation, and apraxis develop.•Frontal lobe gait disorder cause patients to shuffle (Alzheimer’s Association, 2017).•Later in the disease, social graces are lost. Paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions may occur. Terminal patients are bedridden, mute and incontinent. End stage disease causes drastic personality and functional ability changes. High risk for falling backward (Hammer & McPhee, 2014).•Destroys intellectual, social skills and mental function as brain cells degenerate and die (Alzheimer’s Association, 2017).
EPIDEMIOLOGY•Affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans•5thleading cause of those older than 65•90% of symptoms do not appear until after the age of 60•Disease incidence increases with age, doubling every 5 years, after the age 65•$236 billion in healthcare expenses yearly•Greater than 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care is given, equaling $221.3 billion yearly (Horning, Melrose, & Sultzer, 2014).
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY•AD is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a breakdown of neurons leading to brain atrophy•