Alzheimer's Disease

Submitted By jess280911
Words: 806
Pages: 4

Alzheimer’s Disease Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain that eventually results in memory loss and invariably leads to death. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and gradually gets worse. Much still remains unknown about the destructive illness. Research is being done, and more is being learned each day. Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1906, by a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer. He had a patient in her fifties who suffered from severe mental illness. She died after several years of progressive brain deterioration, marked by increasing confusion and memory loss. Her autopsy revealed dense deposits in her brain. Around the affected nerves there is an accumulation of cellular debris, termed senile plaques. In the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for memory, there are a group of cells tangled together, much like a rope tied in a knot, known as neurofibrillary tangles. The neurons transport mechanism is disrupted by the neurofibrillary tangles. These neurons, used to produce brain chemicals, break connections with other nerves, causing them to die. As the brain cells die, the brain shrinks. There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease: early onset AD and late onset AD. In early onset AD, symptoms appear before age sixty and tend to progress fast. The most common form of the disease is late onset Alzheimer’s, developing in people age sixty and older. The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not entirely known. As you get older the risk factors of Alzheimer’s increases, yet the disease is not a part of normal aging. Risk factors include both genetics and environmental factors. The disease is more commonly found in females and people who have had a history of head trauma, or high blood pressure. The changes to the brain caused by Alzheimer’s result in gradual loss of intellectual and social skills. Several areas are affected by the disease including memory loss, personality and language. Some visual associated areas are affected making it difficult to process visual cues, such as, family and familiar places. The frontal lobes, important for motivation and planning, are also damaged by Alzheimer’s making it difficult to do task.
Alzheimer’s is separated into three stages. The first stages of Alzheimer’s, the mildest level, include occasionally losing or misplacing items and taking longer than usual with everyday task. Over time as the disease progresses, the symptoms and signs become more pronounced. Stage two, moderate Alzheimer’s may include increased memory loss or confusion and problems recognizing people they see every day. Some patients with moderate Alzheimer’s often repeat stories and favorite words. Also, individuals tend to not worry about their personal hygiene or appearance and have difficulty doing simple task, such as brushing their teeth, or getting dressed. The daily routines of the patient and the patients’ family are affected; victims lose their short term memory and even forget where they are and who they are with. This can be very hard on individuals. Victims may become very emotional, resulting in mood changes and changes in temper. In the final stages severe Alzheimer’s, full time care is usually needed. Patients will make