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The benefits of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer s disease - Research Paper Example

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While most people are hesitant about testing for Alzheimer’s disease, others feel that early detection and preparation is the key to understanding and coping with the disease. This advanced knowledge would lead to a better quality of life for diagnosed individuals and their families…
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The benefits of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer s disease
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Download file to see previous pages While most people are hesitant about testing for Alzheimer’s disease, others feel that early detection and preparation is the key to understanding and coping with the disease. This advanced knowledge would lead to a better quality of life for diagnosed individuals and their families. Approximately 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and because more people are living to their 80s and 90s that number is expected to quadruple by 2060.Although there is no cure for AD some people wish to get tested for it earlier for various reasons including a family history of AD. If their risk is determined to be high they feel that they will be more in control of their health and can plan accordingly for their future health care. If they are determined to have a lower risk it would relieve their anxiety. People may even be able to adopt healthier habits in order to mitigate the effects of AD. Many people find these tests to be a valuable tool for assessing risk. Since an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can help prolong symptoms researchers are working to devise more extensive ways of making early detection of AD possible. While most people are hesitant about testing for Alzheimer’s disease, others feel that early detection and preparation is the key to understanding and coping with the disease. This advanced knowledge would lead to a better quality of life for diagnosed individuals and their families. An increasing number of people have developed Alzheimer’s disease due to the aging baby boomer generation as well as increased life expectancy. Approximately 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and because more people are living to their 80s and 90s that number is expected to quadruple by 2060. (Insel & Roth)An early diagnosis can help prolong the development of disease symptoms allowing individuals to be productive for as long as possible. (Dwyer, n.d.) “An early diagnosis is crucial because that is when the most can be done to slow the progression of symptoms.” (Dwyer, n.d., p2) Other reasons for an early diagnosis of AD include the identification of conditions that are commonly linked to dementia and AD such as depression, medication side effects, substance abuse, vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, bladder infections or thyroid problems; an avoidance of misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatments and the ability for patients to receive proper care as well as the ability decisions regarding their future health care. (Dwyer) Further an earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s may pave the way for more extensive studies of the causes of it. Of the approximately 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease approximately 250,000 people have early-onset AD in which its symptoms normally emerge in people under the age of 65. (Goldman et. al, 2011). Overall the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is 10- 12% for individuals. The risk greatly increases when people have a family history of the disease. These people understandably are worried about their potential for getting AD and may wish to get tested for the disease. According to the Dwyer article some of the early warning signs of AD include memory loss that interferes with daily life, chronic inability to plan for or solve problems, inability to complete daily tasks, confusion with time or place, problems with saying or writing words and withdrawal from work or social activities. Doctors mainly diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by examining brain tissue during a biopsy. (Dwyer) Generally the doctors diagnose AD by combining information from a patient’s medical history, neurological and physiological tests, physical exams, blood and urine tests and a brain imaging scan. Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed by ruling out diseases with similar symptoms during various tests. “Good early results have also been seen by measuring levels of a specific protein in spinal fluid.” (Insel & Roth, 2008, p. 354). A definite diagnosis of Alzh ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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