Alzheimers disease

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Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimer’s is something that we all associate with the elderly and getting older. It is not a disease to be taken lightly though. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which is a brain disorder that seriously restricts a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. It is an advancing deterioration of the brain that usually begins with loss of memory and forgetfulness. It affects the part of the bran that controls thought, memory, and language. Researchers now say that alzheimer’s affects more than 4 million Americans. The disease usually begins after age 60, and the risk is greater as you get older. About 3 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have alzheimer’s, and almost half of people age 85 and older have some form of the disease.
     The diagnosis of alzheimer’s is mainly one of eliminating other possible causes, since there are other diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or alcoholism that can cause dementia. The finding of two distinctive lesions in the brain at examination provides the definite diagnosis. One lesion is called plaque, a group of dead brain cells. The other, called neurofibrillary tange, is a twisted bundle of protein threads within the cell.
The cause of Alzheimer’s is not yet fully known, but is believed to be caused by a failure of transmission within the brain. The functioning cell within the brain is the neuron. The neuron has a cell body, which sends out short branching twigs (dendrites) on one side and an axon on the other side, ending in similar twigs (terminal branches0. Neurotransmitters are sent through these cells. In Alzheimer’s there appears to be a deficiency of at least one major neurotransmitter, acetycholine, but what damages the cells to prevent them from secreting the substance is not known. Alzheimer’s disease arises is the electrical impulses fail to travel from nerve cell to nerve cell across the synaptic cleft. This failure prevents the transmission of electrical signals to the appropriate centers in the brain, therefore causing all the warning signs of dementia.
Age is the most important known risk factor for alzheimer’s. Family history is another risk factor. Genetics are believed to play a very important role in who is affected by alzheimer’s. There is no cure or treatment to stop alzheimer’s. The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person. Alzheimer’s patients live on average 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed. Once a person is diagnosed, immediate steps need to be taken. They should know what is happening to them, and try to understand what is going on. Medicines like Cognex, Aricept, Exelon, or Reminyl may help prevent some symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time. Patients in the early stages will become very forgetful at first. They have trouble remembering things that have just recently happened to them. As the disease progresses, so do the symptoms. Wandering, violence, and loss of memory become worse. They don’t know where they are most of the time, and will forget who their family is. Alzheimer’s is one of the saddest diseases that can affect a family. Having your mother or father, whom you have known your whole life, forget who you are and sometimes become violent with you can be extremely hard. Watching this disease slowly progress and break down your loved ones’ body is terrible. Alzheimer’s is a disease that we all may have to face someday, and the effects that is has are terrible.



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