What Is Alzheimer's Disease? Essay

1239 words - 5 pages

Alzheimer’s disease is a deadly progressive form of atrophy that affects millions of people around the globe. Alzheimer’s disease also referred to as AD accounts for 70% of dementia cases diagnosed. Two significant reasons linked to the development of AD are genetic influences and lifestyle/environmental factors, while two of its primary effects are death of nerve cells and tissue loss within the brain as well as interference in the patient’s daily life.
One of the main causes for Alzheimer’s is the genetic component related to family bloodlines. Genes manipulate the function of every cell in our bodies, including basic characteristics and potential disease development. The genes that determine potential disease development can make someone more prone to developing Alzheimer’s. The gene that is associated with AD is called apolipoprotein E, also referred to as APOE; there are three different types of APOE, but only one has been shown to increases the risk of AD, it is referred to as APOE e4. We each inherit an APOE form our mother and fathers, having even one APOE e4 gene increases the risk of developing AD. If a patient has two APOE e4 genes, the risk is even greater. In an article titled Gene dose of apolipoprotein E type 4 allele and the risk of Alzheimer's disease in late onset families, the authors Corder, Saunders, Strittmatter, Schmechel, Gaskell, Small, Roses, Haines, Pericak-Vance (1993) state, “The apolipoprotein E type 4 allele (APOE-epsilon 4) is genetically associated with the common late onset familial and sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD).” (p. 921). The APOE e4 gene was identified so long ago and its association with AD is a major risk that I feel should be considered by potential parents. Even though genetics can be a potential cause of AD, there are other factors to consider.
Another main cause that can determine if someone will develop Alzheimer’s is lifestyle/environmental contributors. To many peoples surprise lifestyle, and environmental factors can determine if someone is prone to developing AD. Various studies have shown that up to half of AD cases could have be prevented through lifestyle changes, and correctly treating existing diseases such as diabetes. The reason lifestyle affects the possible development of AD is due to how the body is treated within that lifestyle; an example would be having a poor lifestyle with poor eating and exercise habits making patients more prone to various diseases (including Alzheimer’s). It is believed by many researchers that environmental contributors can also affect the development of Alzheimer’s. It is believed by many scientists that an enriched environment may lower the risks of AD. An enriched environment is defines as doing frequent reading, playing an instrument, exploring your interests, sports, etc. In an article titled WILL A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE HELP PREVENT ALZHEIMER'SDISEASE? written by Pope, Shue, and Beck (2003) stated “Adherence to a healthy lifestyle may...

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