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Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Uploaded by Nategrey on Aug 05, 2005

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is emerging to potentially become the largest medical problem facing the elderly in the 21st century. Right now, an estimated 4.5 million Americans are known to have the disease (Understanding Alz.). A poorly understood illness, Alzheimer's gradually steals away its victim’s mental and physical abilities, leaving them in a chronic out-of-mind state. It can last for an indefinite period, and as a result has a significant impact on all those close to the victim. The disease, by gradually taking away the mind and personality of the sufferer, leads to behaviors that can be extremely difficult to manage, and very frustrating to family and caregivers. Few people genuinely understand what Alzheimer's is, its true affects, and how it affects those around the victim.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that has no known cause or cure. There are many different terms for symptoms of forgetfulness and loss of mental clarity; the most well known is Dementia. The term Dementia comes from two Latin words meaning “away” and “mind,” and it is used by doctors to specify “an acute loss of, or impairment of, mental control” (Mace and Rabins 15). Alzheimer’s is the most common form of permanent Dementia (About Alz.). Dementia and Alzheimer's
are not the same things. Many different conditions are known to cause Dementia, not all of them affect only elderly people, and not all are fatal. Alzheimer's is a unique syndrome that systematically kills swaths of the brain, causing Dementia in the process. Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer's is always fatal. Much like AIDS, the immediate cause of death is often a complicating condition, such as pneumonia, but the actual cause of death is the illness (Mace and Rabins 140).

Memory change is normal as people age, but Alzheimer's symptoms are more than misplacing car keys and forgetting grandkid’s names. People afflicted with Alzheimer's disease experience difficulties in virtually every aspect of cogitative reasoning (Understanding Alz.). Alzheimer's patients have extreme difficulty performing very familiar tasks, and eventually are unable to perform motor skills learned in early childhood. The thought process affects everything from eating to communicating to breathing. Even the smallest task requires an incredible amount of thought. If the brain misses just one step in the process, the task will...

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Uploaded by:   Nategrey

Date:   08/05/2005

Category:   Science And Technology

Length:   6 pages (1,311 words)

Views:   2426

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