All About Alzheimer’s
Alzheimers is a neurodegenerative affliction that causes a decrease and your brain's ability to process information. Memory is the first part of your brain that is directly affected, so the first observable symptoms are usually mild forms of amnesia. Alzheimers is actually a form of dementia, although you rarely here this were associated with it. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe any progressive damage to the areas of the brain that control memory or any other cognitive function. Alzheimer's certainly fits the bill under that definition.
The earliest stages of Alzheimers is marked by gradual memory loss that tends to heighten as time passes. It begins as little things like having a hard time remembering what Jay or even month it is. They may find themselves losing items more frequently than normal, like misplacing keys. Not being able to recall current events and sadly in some cases not even being able to recognize family and friends are symptoms of the disease. Surprisingly, long-term memory doesn't seem to be affected. In many cases it is not uncommon that the afflicted person will recognize old friends and family, but may not have any clear memory of recent interactions with them.
As Alzheimers progresses, the afflicted individual will show signs of the erratic behavior. They often become paranoid, quick to anger, overreact to minor things, suffer from hallucinations, and can even become violent. It is very easy to get confused and frightened in this frame of mind.
These behaviors are seen even in individuals that were shy, timid, or passive people prior to developing the disease. Sometimes it seems as if the individual does a complete 180 in personality. Someone in the middle stages of Alzheimers will usually begin to lose motor control and will need help dressing and performing everyday personal hygiene functions. The ability to read and write often diminish his as does speaking in a loud and clear voice. When the disease progresses to this point in even older memories can become affected and family and friends may suddenly become strangers. It's very sad to watch someone you care about go through this.
In the later and final stages of the disease, individuals will usually have a complete and total breakdown of the mental faculties. They will be unable to communicate, walk, participate in personal care activities, or even eat on their own. As a result, sufferers in these late stages usually are incontinent and begin to lose a lot of weight. Alzheimer's can and does kill people because of the deterioration of the brain.
At this time there are no known cures for Alzheimer's, but there are some medications and have shown promise in at least slowing the disease's progression, and medical science is optimistic about research into the field.
Our increased understanding of biology and the human genetic code and work with stem cell research has many scientists feeling optimistic for the creation of preventative and perhaps even curative drugs. Already, there are results from a number of recent studies that suggest that a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine can go a long one a preventing the disease from ever occurring.
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Written by: Morgan Hamilton