Alzheimer's Disease Essay

3004 words - 12 pages

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the disease of the century. This disease is affecting many lives, families, and caregivers. This research presented is to help educate on the topic of Alzheimer’s disease, which many people aren’t aware enough about. Statistics are given to show how extreme this disease is, and how many people it’s affecting in society. Also statistics are presented that give the amount of money being spent relating to Alzheimer’s disease. This research explains the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. Also giving advice and strategies to help caregivers manage and support their loved one if they are struck with this disease. Not much is known for sure on what causes this disease, so everyone should be aware of what it is and what the signs are, because it can affect anyone, maybe even someone very close to you one day. It’s better to be aware, to be able to help, than to be unaware and put someone down for having difficulties in old age.

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time (Soukup, 1996).
-Nietzsche

Alzheimer’s disease is not a new disease, nor one confirmed to this century. In fact, the earliest documented mention of a condition that now looks like Alzheimer’s disease was in 500 B.C. when Solon, the famous Greek lawyer and philosopher, wrote that impaired judgement from old age could cause a will to be invalid (Gray-Davidson, 1996). It is only our awareness, which is new. One of the possible reasons why we hear so much about Alzheimer’s disease is because of the huge increase in the number of people living longer. While the actual span of human life has not really extended, the percentage of people living to its extent has megajumped. Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the best-known, most-feared disease of this century. Essentially, Alzheimer’s causes the computer of the brain to go down, and the whole of life becomes gradually disarrayed (Gray-Davidson, 1996).
The American Psychiatric Association’s definition of Alzheimer’s disease contained in the diagnostic manual DSM-IV, is as follows:
The essential feature of the presence of Dementia of insidious onset and gradual progressive course for which all other specific causes have been excluded by the history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.
The Dementia involves a multifaceted loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory, judgement, abstract thought, and other higher cortical functions, and changes in personality and behavior (Gray-Davidson, 1996).

Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that causes a steady decline in memory. This results in dementia, loss of intellectual functions such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning, severe enough to interfere with everyday life (Gwyther, 2000). As with all dementia’s, the rate of progression in Alzheimer’s patients varies from case to case. From the onset of...

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