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Alzheimer’s Disease

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Essay title: Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, brain disorder that causes a slow and permanent decline in memory, language skills, perception of time and space, and, eventually the ability to care for oneself (Encarta, 1). Alzheimer’s is the most common from of dementia. Dementia is the impairment of memory and other mental powers due to a disease. It is also the fourth leading cause of death among older adults (Do You Need).

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about four million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s affects about ten percent of the people over 65. At the age of 85 there are about 50 percent of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. However, Alzheimer’s can affect people in there 40s and 50s, also (Do You Need). The rate of progression of this disease from the start of the symptoms until death is from three to twenty years. The average amount of years is eight. The cost of diagnosis, treatment, and long-term care from people with Alzheimer’s is an estimated $100 billion per year in the United States (World Almanac, 504).

According to the book What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s that was written by John Medina, Alois Alzheimer discovered Alzheimer’s disease in 1906. He discovered the disease when he was doing a study on a 51-year-old woman, who could not remember objects immediately after seeing them. When the woman died he examined her brain and found that many of her brain cells were missing. There were two different kinds of brain cells missing, tangles and plaques. After his discovery, he published a book, which made him famous for the disease (Medina, 12-13).

They are many different warning signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is very gradual. Most of the time patients will have mild problems learning new information and remembering to do routine things (Is it Alzheimer’s). Eventually people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease will become incapable and unable to care of themselves (World Almanac, 504). The warning signs of Alzheimer’s are difficulty with familiar tasks, slipping job performance, language difficulties, confusion of place and time, lack of judgment, problems in abstract thinking, misplacing objects, mood fluctuations, changes in personality, and lack of initiative (Medina, 14-15).

People with Alzheimer’s have a difficult time remember things, such as, making some kind of food for a meal, and not only forget to serve it, but forget that they have made it all together (Is it Alzheimer’s). With slipping job performance people with Alzheimer’s forget things much more often then people without the disease and may not remember at a later point. When a person with Alzheimer’s has problem with his/her language they will forget a word or phrase and replacing with something that does not make since, making their speech incomprehensible (Medina, 14).

A person affected with Alzheimer’s will sometimes forget where they live or how they got to where they are. They can also forget loved one’s names and faces. People with this disease can have poor judgment by putting on clothing backwards or forgetting that they are watching a child (Is it Alzheimer’s). Alzheimer’s can cause people to have trouble with doing simple mathematics, such as, balancing a checkbook or figuring of factions for recipes (Medina, 15). People who don’t not suffer from Alzheimer’s may forget where they placed they keys, but people with Alzheimer’s may place things like their wallets in the freezer or watch in the sugar bowl (Is it Alzheimer’s).

A patient with Alzheimer’s may show rapid emotional changes. These mood swings might be from sudden laughter until intense subbing or extreme shouting (Is it Alzheimer’s). An individual with Alzheimer’s disease may be happy and outspoken and then become confused and shy. Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to become very passive and have a lack of energy (Medina, 15). This causes the patient to need cues and maybe a little push to get involved (Is it Alzheimer’s).

According to John Medina, Alzheimer’s disease is difficult for doctors to diagnose. Alzheimer’s has many symptoms like other disease that cause dementia. There is not a single test that doctors have for Alzheimer’s. There are six different disorders that doctors have to rule out to diagnose Alzheimer’s. These six disorders are Multi-Infarct Dementia, Pick’s disease, Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, Major Depression, and Acquired Immune, Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Medina, 16-17).

In the diagnosis there are six different parts. Part one is the medical history. This includes interviews with the patient and family members. Part two is a physical exam. In this section, doctors evaluate the patient’s nutritional status and look for cardiac, respiratory, liver, kidney, and thyroid disease. In part three the doctors

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