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Alzheimer's - Research Paper Example

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Alzheimer's Disease [Your Name] [Your University] Abstract Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative disease appearing at an old age and encompassing many symptoms that affect the person emotionally, cognitively, socially and intellectually. There is no area in one's life that isn't affected tremendously by the disease…
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Download file to see previous pages In order to diagnose the disease, there are cognitive tests that examine whether or not the person may have it, but to confirm it, doctors need to perform some sort of imaging test on the brain to see if the signs of Alzheimer's, called plaques and tangles, are apparent. Then and only then can a disgnosis of the disease be given. The disease is at the moment incurable, and medications can also delay the symptoms. There are several things that can perhaps help with it, including mental stimulation and some recreational activities that involve the brain. Given the tremendous strain put on both sufferers and caretakers and the fact that in the last stages of the disease people become completely reliant on others, it is important to find a cure. The good news is that there are many clinical trials at the moment which hope to do so. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive disease which occurs in elderly people, and is the most common form of dementia, a major loss of global cognitive ability in an individual that is not a cause of anything else and is beyond what is expected from a normal aging of a person. The disease is incurable and eventually leads to death. Although developing somewhat differently in every individual, there are common symptoms that occur across the board for all Alzheimer's patients. The earliest noticeable symptom is loss of short-term memories, as the person starts forgetting recent events. This is followed by confusion, trouble with language, long term-memory, and also irritability, aggression and mood swings (Brookmeyer, Gray & Kawas, 1998). The latter are not difficult to understand- the person is confused and forgetful, unable to do things that have previously been routinely achieved. This inability and sense of helplessness lead to frustration that manifests in the aforementioned emotional and physical responses. The previously independent person now becomes extremely reliant on others and needing special care. Other than the relationship with the caregiver and perhaps the closest people to him, the patient gradually loses social contacts with others, due to the circumstances (Alliance, 2001). Taking care of an Alzheimer's patient is a great burden, and sufferers may be even more upset about burdening others, especially if they are friends or family. Their burden is widespread, consisting of physical, social, psychological and economic . If the caregiver is a stranger, it can also add to their annoyance of accepting a stranger to their lives and having him being with them in their most fragile and intimate situations (Alliance, 2001). Alzheimer's can go undetected for years, as it is at first invisible to doctors or family and friends, partly because of the fact that some early behaviors are common among old people in general (like forgetfulness). It is difficult to predict how it will affect each individual or the rate of progress of the disease. It is depended on the stage of the condition and how soon it is detected. On average, the life expectancy after receiving a diagnosis is about 7 years, with only a very small percentage surpassing 14 years (merely 3%) (Brookmeyer, Gray & Kawas, 1998). AD has four stages. The first one is Pre-Dementia (also called "mild cognitive impairment" stage ), in which it is very difficult to diagnose the condition, as symptoms are thought of as emanating from age or stress. These include difficulty in remembering information that's been learned recently and an inability to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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