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The Trouble Of Alzheimer's Disease Essay

1964 words - 8 pages

Growing old is a cause for concern in the minds of many. Frequently people find themselves worrying daily over the lack of time that is left in their lives. This is natural. Once a person reaches this time period they find changes in themselves, both physical and mental. Physical symptoms of old age are wrinkles, hair color change, loss of finer athletic abilities, and possibly things such as Arthritis, eye sight loss, or hearing loss. Mental signs of old age are often associated with slower thinking, forgetfulness, and senility. These mental signs, however, are not a “natural” sign of old age (Frank 13). They may come in a mild form, but when anything more severe they may point to a life-threatening disease.
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a degenerative disease (Shan 33) of both the mental and physical body of a person (Frank 15). It is not a new disease, on the contrary it has been documented for centuries as a sign of old age. It was not until 1906 that it was finally identified by Alois Alzheimer (Frank 13). While this disease seems to be hidden with sufferers often being home bound, over five million Americans have been diagnosed (Alz.org). This number has been said to be around 5.4 million, about the current population of Minnesota. Those afflicted are said to face a “fading mental spiral for decades” (Ambrose). Three types seems to be predominant, these are: early onset, those younger than 65, late onset (SAD), those older than 65, and familial (FAD), which are those who have inherited the disease. Early onset acquaints to 2-5% of those diagnosed, late onset to 90% or more, and familial is rare (Shan 34). Statistics show that 50-70% of all dementia is from Alzheimer's Disease. Though it accounts for most of the dementia diagnosed, another form called Senile Dementia (SD) is also common. Experts aren't sure yet if it is defined differently from AD or if SD encompasses it. AD also takes a high economic and social toll on the world (Ambrose). In 2003, the worldwide cost was estimated to $248 billion (Sano 888) while the US cost for 2013 alone has been $203 billion. The cost and those suffering is continuing to rise steadily with no sign of stopping. Minnesota recorded 1,451 deaths in 2010 from Alzheimer's Disease. This number multiplied to represent every US state equals 75,550 deaths. With statistics like this, Alzheimer's Disease accounts for being the 6th leading cause of death in the US. While the disease itself isn't usually the killer, a secondary illness is (Frank 43). Most times someone with AD will have a weakened immune system from being bed ridden and unable to care for themselves in the final stages, leading to a contraction of an illness. When will it slow? This unknown has experts predicting that by 2050, more than 16 million people are estimated to have AD (Alz.org). While much is thought to be known about the scientific part of Alzheimer's Disease, that knowledge has yet to be translated into an effective cure when diagnosed....

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