It is inevitable that eventually each of us will grow old and begin to face more and more health problems as our age rises. Elderly people are challenged by many illnesses and diseases that unfortunately, are incurable. One disease that becomes more common as people age is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s a common cause and a form of dementia and can severely damage a patient’s cognitive functions and can ultimately cause death. Living with Alzheimer’s disease can be saddening for both the sufferer and the family. Family and friends will find it very hard to cope when a loved one begins slipping away and losing memory of who they are.
Alzheimer’s disease comes from the last name of a neuro-psychiatrist from Germany, Alois Alzheimer. The disease was first diagnosed when a woman in her early fifties began experience memory problems. “Alzheimer recounted the now famous case of ‘Auguste D.’ a 51-year-old housewife who had been failing mentally for several years. As a result she had been admitted to his care in the Asylum for the Insane and Epileptic…” (Maurer and Maurer 1). After her death, he continued to examine her brain to find causes and explanations for her behavior. He discovered “…classic neuro-pathological signs of plaques and tangles” (Maurer and Maurer 1). “Plaques are chains of amino acids that are pieces of the amyloid precursor protein…tangles are aggregates of the protein tau” (Secko 1). As plaques develop they produce tangles and “these two abnormalities ultimately lead to loss of cognitive function” (Secko 1) Alois Alzheimer’s research has allowed many specialist to conclude that the apolipoproetein E gene may contribute to the disease.
The occurrence and deposits of these proteins in the brain and in the body may ultimately lead to whether or not someone will be susceptible and diagnosed with Alzheimer disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is rising at a very high rate. “The number of new cases per year is estimated at 360,000 equating to 980 new cases per day or 40 new cases every hour” (Cummings and Cole 1) This evidence shows that an increasing number of people will discover the effects of a cognitive impairment that will most likely be due to Alzheimer’s disease. As people age, their risk of being diagnosed with this disease increases significantly. “The prevalence of AD double every five years after the age of 60…1% among those 60- to 64-years old to up to 40% of those aged 85 years and older” and “is more common in women than men by a ration of 1.2 to 1.5” (Cummings and Cole 1). With the growing number of people becoming diagnosed, and experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, we must begin to take precautions and somehow attempt to gain knowledge of how the disease can be better treated, and ultimately prevented.
Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease usually end up in nursing homes or...