Alzheimer's Disease

Kortney Kirking

The Tragic Disease

Alzheimer's, a horrible disease that effects your memory, effects all ages. 5.4 million people are currently living with this disease (Facts and Figures 1). Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (Facts and Figures 1). Even though this disease is known to be such an issue in the US, there still has been no known cure for this tragic disease.

History of Alzheimer's Disease

A man named Alois Alzheimer founded this disease. He was in early treatment with a woman named Auguste Deter who had described her symptoms as losing her mind. Alzheimer had observed that she had been mentally declining for around five years. She had been getting worse over the past five years because as time goes on the disease gets worse. She had developed progressive memory loss, was unable to take care of herself, and began to be unable to speak. She later died at the age of 55. After her death, Alzheimer examined her brain. While performing an autopsy he found plaques between the nerve cells and tangles inside the neurons (Alzheimer's Disease International 3). This disease was then later named after him.


Ages Alzheimer's Disease Effects

Alzheimer's disease, a common known disease to effect old people, also effects people at young ages. Early onset Alzheimer's, the type of Alzheimer's that effects younger generations, effects ages 65 and younger. Less than 10% of all Alzheimer's disease patients have this type (Web MD 1). This form of the disease often follows through genes and goes down generations. Since early onset patients experience premature aging, people with Down Syndrome are particularly at risk to getting Alzheimer's (Web MD 1). The risk is due to the fact Down Syndrome patients experience premature aging in their development. According to the Alzheimer's Disease Health Center "adults with Down Syndrome are often in their mid-to late 40s or early 50s when symptoms first appear" (Web MD 1). Late onset Alzheimer's disease, the type that effects the elderly, effects over the ages of 65. This being the most common form of Alzheimer's disease makes up 90% of the cases (Web MD 3). The Alzheimer's Disease Health Center also states that "late onset Alzheimer's disease strikes almost half of all people over the ages of 85 and may or may not be hereditary" (Web MD 3). Late Onset Alzheimer's disease can also be known as Sporadic Alzheimer's disease (Web MD 3).

Symptoms

Alzheimer's disease comes in different stages; mild, moderate, and severe stages. At the mild stage Alzheimer patients begin to become confused with familiar places. They also have trouble paying bills, handling money, and performing normal daily tasks. At the mild stage patients may occasionally lose or misplace things. Their personality can change along with mild mood swings. At the moderate stage patients often have problems recognizing family members and friends. Their memory loss and confusion increases along with difficulty carrying out tasks with multiple steps. Patients continuously repeat stories, tasks, and motions. They may also start to not be concerned with their hygiene or appearance. Lastly, at the severe stage they lose the inability to recognize their self and family. They no longer can communicate and can only make groaning and moaning noises. Often at this time patients have to wear depends, which are adult diapers to help their lack of control of going to the bathroom.

Is there a cure for Alzheimer's?

At this time there are no known cures for this fatal disease, but there are some proven practices worth putting into your daily life to try to prevent getting Alzheimer's disease. Going towards a more low fat diet, reducing your intake of butter, and maintaining a normal blood pressure helps prevent Alzheimer's disease (Mayo Clinic 6). Staying mentally and socially active also helps decrease the risk of getting it (Mayo Clinic 5). Just by staying healthy, being active, and recieving nutrients will help decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease. There are two known drugs to help Alzheimer's symptoms. Cholinesterase inhibitors, a drug used to boost communication in the brain, helps slow down the Alzheimer's process (Mayo Clinic 2). Memantine, another drug used to slow the Alzheimer's process, works in the brain cell communication network. (Mayo Clinic 3).

Caregivers

The daily life of a caregiver takes a lot of challenge such as being physically, mentally, and emotionally ready. An important role of the caregiver is to be fully informed on the patient and the disease. Some Alzheimer's caregivers have found that participating in support groups helps them express concerns about their patient and experiences (National Institute of Health 4). This also gives a way for the caregiver to receive emotional support because over time often caregivers become close to their patient and it makes it hard for them to see how their brain rapidly crumbles away.

Future

Right now more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and by 2050 the rates are predicted to increase (Symptoms and Stages 1). By 2050 more than 15 million people are predicted to have this tragic disease (Symptoms and Stages 1). Worldwide nearly 36 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer's disease (Symptoms and Stages 1). This number is estimated to increase to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050 (Symptoms and Stages 1). Since there are no known treatments for this disease scientists are trying many drugs in hopes to slow the rapid disease down, or even find a cure. Some goals scientist have for helping patients with Alzheimer's are slowing the progression. They are also trying to help behavior management, confusion, sleep, and agitation of the patient. Although now there is currently no cure there could possibly be one in the future with all the new technology developing.


Works Cited