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Alzheimer’s Disease: Disease Facts and Its Effects on the Patient and Their Family Members

Autor:   •  February 23, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  2,889 Words (12 Pages)  •  893 Views

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Disease Facts and Its Effects on the Patient and Their Family Members


Alzheimer’s disease is quickly becoming the one of the leading causes of death among our world’s elderly population. Deaths caused by chronic and common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease and stroke have seen 15 to 20 % decrease in death rates between 1998 and 2008, but deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease have drastically increased almost 85% during the same time period. (Moschetti, Cummings, Sorvillo, Kuo, 2012, p. 1513) Alzheimer’s disease is progressive disease that robs individuals of their memories and functional capabilities slowly over time. This disease not only touches those diagnosed with it but also their spouses, children and other family members. Alzheimer’s disease affects the quality of life of both the person suffering as well as their loved ones. Researchers continue to work towards learning more about Alzheimer’s disease. Hope continues to drive scientists and medical experts to not only find a cure but also a more definitive way to identify and diagnose patients at the earliest onset.

In today’s world many medical advances are prolonging people’s time on earth and people across the globe are living longer, more productive and healthier lives. Unfortunately, more and more older individuals are suffering from some type of dementia. “Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia,” medical researcher Yaso Shan (2013) states, “it is a degenerative, incurable and terminal illness.” (p.33) Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease that causes confusion and loss of memory. (Feldman, 2012, p. 419) Psychologists Lindsay Anderson, Kevin McCaul and Linda Langley (2011) define Alzheimer’s disease as “a progressive, irreversible, degenerative brain disease who symptoms include memory loss and other cognitive and behavioral declines. (p. 922-923) Biologists often describe this illness as the loss of the ability to reason. (Shan, 2013, p.33) Alzheimer’s patients loose the capacity to process and form new memories, they are unable to circumnavigate even their most familiar and routine surroundings and they often display radical changes in their personalities. (Shan, 2013, p. 33)

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the production of plaques and tangles in the brain, specifically the cerebral cortex. The plaques are composed of protein clumps, specifically beta-amyloid protein that surrounds the neurons. The tangles are contorted strands of the protein tau also found within the neurons. Kathleen Stassen Berger (2011) states that


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