Essay on Alzheimer’s disease
700 Words essay on Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease also known as Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that starts slowly and gets worse with time. The early symptom of this disease is short-term memory loss or difficulty in remembering recent events. However, with the passage of time, the symptoms may include disorientation, mood swings, problems with language, behavioral issues and loss of motivation. With the declination of health, the person withdraws from family and society. Ultimately, all bodily functions stop and thus leading to death.
Basics of Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is a general term for memory loss and other abilities serious enough to interfere with our daily life. It accounts for 60 to 80 per cent of dementia cases.
- Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Increasing age is one of the greatest risk factors. The majority of people suffering from this disease are 65 and older. However, Alzheimer’s is a not a disease of old age. It is believes that almost 200,000 Americans suffer from younger-onset Alzheimer’s. This is also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.
- Alzheimer’s disease is believed to worsen with time. It is a progressive disease where the dementia symptoms worsen with time. In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, memory loss is mild but with age and time, the person loses the ability to carry on a conversation or respond to the environment. It is one of the sixth leading causes of death in the US. People suffering from Alzheimer’s can live up to 8 years after the symptoms start showing. Survival can range from four to twenty years, which depend on age and other health conditions.
- Alzheimer’s disease has no cure whatsoever. However, the treatment for the symptoms is available but the research still continues. The current treatment of the disease cannot stop it from progressing but it can temporarily slow the worsening of the symptoms of dementia. Thus, improving the quality of life of the patient and the care giver. There is a worldwide effort in finding better ways to treat the disease and prevent it from developing.
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Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The most common and early symptom of the Alzheimer’s disease is short term memory loss or difficulty in learning new information. It is because; Alzheimer’s changes begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. Our brain changes with age just like our other body pats. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign of the failure of the brain cells. Alzheimer’s may also cause difficulty in speaking, walking or swallowing.
People suffering from this disease find it very difficult to recognize that they have a problem. Signs or symptoms of the disease are more visible to family and friends. Early diagnoses of the disease and intervention methods are improving dramatically. Thus, treatment options and sources can improve the quality of life of both the patient and their family.
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The role of plaques and tangles
The two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles are the main suspects in damaging and killing the nerve cells.
PLAQUES: These are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid. It is responsible for building up the spaces between the nerve cells or neurons.
TANGLES: These are the twisted fibers of another protein called tau. It builds up inside the cells.
Autopsy studies show that most people start developing plaques and tangles with increasing age. People suffering from Alzheimer’s however develop far more and in a very predictable pattern. It starts in the areas that are important for memory before spreading to other regions. However, scientists are yet to find out the exact role of plaques and tangles in Alzheimer’s disease. Most of them believe that it plays a very critical role in blocking communication among nerve cells thus leading to a disruption in the processes that cells need to survive. It is the death and destruction of nerve cells that causes memory failure, personality changes, problems with carrying out their daily activities and other symptoms.
Research and Progress
Alzheimer’s disease is at the forefront of biomedical research these days. Researchers or scientists are working hard to uncover as many aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia as possible. Almost ninety per cent of what we know today about the disease has been discovered in the past twenty years. Some of the remarkable discoveries show how this disease affects our brain. The hope is that better understanding will lead to improvement in treatments.