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Alzheimer's Disease - Essay Example

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A Dr. Alois Alzheimer first discovered Alzheimer's disease in 1906 when he found abnormal changes in the brain cells of a female patient. According to the National Institute of Aging, Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common forms of dementia…
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Alzheimer's Disease

Download file to see previous pages... It is a disease that occurs mostly in older people and adversely affects various parts of the brain, which subsequently results in a loss of memory, thought and speech.
Some of which have been provided as follows. Alzheimer 's disease is a form of dementia that is, "associated with the breakdown of the nervous tissue in the brain." (http://bse.airtime.co.uk/defb.htm)

According to the ALS Therapy Development Foundation, Alzheimer's disease is, "a form of degenerative brain disease resulting in progressive mental deterioration with disorientation, memory disturbance and confusion. It leads to progressive dementia, often accompanied by dysphasia and/or dysphasia. The condition may also give rise ultimately to spastic weakness and paralysis of the limbs, epilepsy and other variable neurological signs." (http://www.als.net/als101/glossary.asp)

The online site of the Medaus Pharmacy states that only in a few cases does Alzheimer's exist before the age of fifty. This disease results in a complete eventual breakdown of speech-patterns and results in disorientation and apathy in the patient. Other symptoms include the loss of intelligence, memory, judgment and the ability to think abstractly. In addition, diverse changes in the personality and behavior of the patient can often be seen as well. (http://www.medaus.com/p/147.html)

It is natural for a person with Alzheimer's to remember things that may have happened years ago clearly and to forget those of the present. Any form of dementia (be it Alzheimer's or otherwise) does not occur all of a sudden; rather it is a slow process that often occurs over the course of months or years. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/)
The number of people with Alzheimer's disease is likely to increase to 34 million by the year 2050. 350,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed annually and the approximately 50,000 patients die from the disease each year. It has been found in literature that life expectancy is directly proportional to Alzheimer's. In other words in every country where the life expectancy its citizens has increased (this would mostly include the developed nations around the world) so has the prevalence of Alzheimer's. (http://www.ahaf.org/alzdis/about/adabout.htm)
In addition, it has been found that, "women have a slightly greater chance of developing Alzheimer's than men do at the same age". (http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspxarticleId=14)
There are basically two types of Alzheimer's disease; the early onset and the late onset. The early onset is the type of Alzheimer's that occurs before the age of 60. Though is not very common it is highly progressive and greatly degenerative. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000760.htm)
"To function properly, the brain must have a minimum number of healthy cells. In Alzheimer's disease brain cells progressively die. If the number of neurons is also suddenly reduced, the patient's mental state may deteriorate abruptly. Several conditions may be responsible for the loss of neurons, including: strokes, subdural hematomas and space-occupying lesions inside the skull." (Handy et al, 1998, pp.105)
Though the symptoms of each patient are unique, there are some basic indicators, which are likely to be experienced by most patients. These are given as follows,
Lack of concentration,
Confusion about time & place(s),
Negligence of one's own self,
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