The Devastating Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease

The Devastating Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease

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The Devastating Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a disorder that causes the gradual loss of brain cells that impairs memory, thinking, and behavior and leads to death. Alzheimer’s Disease is not a normal part in aging.

At present there is not a cure to stop the progression of AD. There are several medications on the market now for this disease. The medications theoretically help to improve or stabilize cognitive skills for people suffering from the disease. The medications may help to delay some of the more severe symptoms associated with AD. This delay of symptoms will help the patient to remain in better mental and physical health and delay the end stages of AD. If a patient with AD can delay the end stage symptoms, the quality of their life would be greatly improved.

An estimated 4.5 million Americans have AD, according to the 2000 U.S. census bureau. 1 in 10 Americans said they have a family member with the disease and 1 in 3 knows someone with the disease. The lifespan is 8 years average, but someone may survive anywhere from 3 to 20 years, states the Alzheimer’s Association.

There are seven stages to Alzheimer’s disease according to the Global Classification System.

The first state is no cognitive impairment. There are no memory problems evident to a health care provider.

The second stage is very mild cognitive decline. There are some memory lapses, but are evident to a health care provider or friends and associates.

The third stage is early-stage Alzheimer’s. Word finding problems are noticeable to family and associates, performance at work or social settings impaired, reading and not retaining the information, losing valuable objects, decline in ability to plan or organize are symptoms in this stage.

The fourth stage is mild Alzheimer’s with a decreased knowledge of events, inability to count backwards from 100 by 7’s and a reduced memory of personal history. The individual with AD will be subdued and withdrawn.

The fifth stage is moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The patient does not know their address, phone number, name of school they went to. They will become confused about the day, date, or season. They usually do not require assistance with eating or using the toilet.

The sixth stage is moderately severe AD. The person will lose awareness of surroundings and recent experiences and will forget the names of spouse or caregiver.

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They experience disruption of sleep/wake cycle and will experience personality changes and behavior disorders. They will be delusional and will hallucinate. They will also wander and may become lost if not closely supervised.

The final stage is severe AD. They loose capacity for speech. There is incontinence and they loose the ability to sit, walk, smile, and hold up their head, swallow, chew, and their muscles become rigid.

The effects of AD are devastating for people suffering from this incurable disease. This disease destroys the brain and without our brains our bodies cannot function.

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