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ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Brain disorder named after Dr Alois Alzheimer (1864–1915), German neuropathologist/psychiatrist. 

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, an acquired global impairment of intellect, memory and personality, which is severe enough to interfere with activities of daily living. AD affects 50–75% of those with dementia. Other forms include 

Vascular dementia, which affects up to 20% of dementia patients, and

Lewy body disease, a type of degenerative dementia affecting 10–15% of cases. 

Differential diagnosis includes acute confusion and depression. Investigations need to exclude treatable causes. All patients need referral for specialist assessment and management. Pharmacotherapy is not curative but may slow disease progression. Dementia is progressive, and carers will need support. 

NICE NG97. Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers, June 2018. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng97 

NICE has also produced a guideline on approaches to delay or prevent dementia: 

NICE NG16. Dementia, disability and frailty in later life: mid-life approaches to delay or prevent onset. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng16

Practice Nurse featured articles 

Improving diagnosis of dementia - the role of the practice nurse. Zena Aldridge, Karen Harrison Dening. 

Pain in dementia: a multi-modal approach to assessment and management. Cathy Knight, Karen Harrison Dening. 

Dementia and the management of comorbidity Zena Aldridge, Karen Harrison Dening 

Dementia - a personal perspective. Katherine Hunt.

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