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Alzheimer’s Disease And Its Effects On People In The United States

1406 words - 6 pages

Dementia is a deadly illness that affects over 5 million senior citizens living in the United States today. Dementia is both a genetic and self-caused condition that can happen at a moment’s notice. Even though dementia is commonly found in people 60-100 it can be found in young adulthood as well. Researchers have come out with effective drugs to help slow the progression of the disease but these drugs cannot cure or reverse brain damage already caused to the person affected with dementia. Dementia effects the brain in numerous stages e.g. vascular dementia and neurofibrillary tangles that turn neurons into wavy-like structures all to name a few. I decided to study the topic of dementia because it is an illness that is under recognized and needs to be stopped because this illness is extremely deadly.

Symptoms of dementia

Dementia is defined in the Experiencing Lifespan book as any illness that produces serious, progressive, irreversible cognitive decline (chapter 14, p.439). Although Dementia is found in people 80 and over, it can be found in people 60-79 as well. Even in young adulthood, causes of Dementia are widely ranged but the two main causes of Dementia are vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The first symptoms of dementia are people forgetting basic semantic information. Simply, they cannot recall important facts such as their name or number or even how to get home (Experiencing the Lifespan name, p.439). In order to get diagnosed with dementia you must have serious memory impairments as well as difficulties managing life (Experiencing the Lifespan chapter 14, p.439). As the symptoms get worse you’re thinking ability becomes compromised, your judgment is gone, and sadly your mind starts to decay. In addition when dementia enters its later stage, the symptoms are unfortunately irreversible and you start to lose mobility as well as basic motor skills such as eating or speaking when in the later stages. This can lead to infection and if even a higher possibility of death. (Experiencing the Lifespan chapter 14, p.439). Although, it is unpredictable when people pass away from dementia, the average lifespan to live with dementia is anywhere from diagnosis to about four to ten years (Experiencing the Lifespan chapter 14, p.440).

Causes of Dementia and is it genetic or self-caused?

Dementia has two main causes that are found frequently among older people, those causes are vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia is when there are problems in the vascular system or networks of arteries feeding the brain. Cognitive problems began to arise in vascular dementia as it causes multiple small strokes (Experiencing the Lifespan chapter 14 p.440). Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that attacks the human consciousness e.g. our neurons. Two characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease are neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques. Neurofibrillary tangles happen when the neurons fade away and are replaced with...

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