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The Effect Of Alzheimer's On Elders

1363 words - 6 pages

Imagine a life where one does not recognize his family or friends. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is an escalating disease that damages mental function and memory. Symptoms of the disease usually begin slowly and worsen over time, interfering with daily tasks and one’s lifestyle. Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death. It has become “a significant health problem in the last twenty five years because of increasing life spans and the scientific recognition that significant memory loss is not a normal part of aging” (Akbar 8). Although there is no current cure, treatments are available for the symptoms of this disease. The progressive effect of Alzheimer’s on elders is catastrophic and disables elders from living normal lives. This disease shows interesting data. “Five percent of the population over age sixty-five is affected. The incidence rises with increasing age, so that at least fifteen to twenty percent of individuals in their eighties are affected” (Akbar 9). The Alzheimer’s Association showed that every sixty-seven seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, about five million Americans are diagnosed with this disease. Often times, it is in elders who begin to show signs around the age of sixty. Approximately 500,000 people each year die due to Alzheimer’s. According to researchers, one in three elders dies with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, women have a greater chance of developing this disease because women live longer and lose function in the mitochondria. In fact, two-thirds of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women. Moreover, Alzheimer’s disease is broken up into a number of different stages. During stages one and two there are early to no symptoms. Some memory problems will occur which can seem normal to the patient. Other possible symptoms include impaired judgment and trouble with vision. The disease progresses mildly during stages three and four. Throughout stage three, there is a decline in brain function, which leads to tissue loss in the brain during stage four. Changes will become more noticeable. Symptoms consist of repeating questions, a longer amount of time to complete normal tasks, and mood changes. Severe symptoms occur during the last stages. Stage five shows drastic decline in brain function and memory. Control of language in the brain is damaged and memory worsens, resulting in problems recognizing family and friends. Lastly, during the final stage the brain nearly shuts down due to loss of tissue and function. The patient will no longer be able to communicate and becomes dependent on his...

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