The following paper focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, the disease which is a devastating brain disease and is one of the most typical forms of dementia, a general term that is most commonly used for memory loss and the diminishing in mental and physical abilities. It is most frequently diagnosed in the elderly although there have been some cases of the disease affecting people of middle age. There is not one known single cause for Alzheimer’s, however, scientists believe that due to the structural and chemical changes in the brain eventually gradually destroy brain cells thus effecting reasoning, learning and memory.
If it continues to advance, the result is body failure. The disease affects the body in different stages, and as the stages become higher the symptoms become worse. Though the disease is incurable there are medications that can keep symptoms under control, and help the individual maintain a regular lifestyle. Alzheimer’s Disease The overall purpose is to provide an explanation of Alzheimer’s disease and its stages. Alzheimer’s disease affects the elderly, and in some rare cases individuals that are in their middle ages.
The disease’s severity is diagnosed by stages. The higher the stage the worse the symptoms can be. In the first stages, friends and family members might notice changes in behavior, mood and communication patterns. Most common signs of the first stage include forgetting events and social withdrawal and forgetting where things are placed. During the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, the main sign is being unable to perform daily task and needing assistance. A person in this stage has decreased judgment and skills in maintaining good hygiene.
The individual’s memory will become worse. However, they can recall their own name, but may have trouble remembering family members and can become disoriented. The main symptom, which occurs in, the late stages of Alzheimer’s, is severe personality and behavior changes. According to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, “Cognitive function are accompanied by changes in the brain, including the build-up of amyloid plaques and tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles, which result in the death of brain cells and the breakdown of the connections between them. When the severity of the disease reaches its maximum potential the brain deteriorates, as well as, the body until it is unable to function any longer. Stages 1-3 Studies have demonstrated that the pathological processes of the disease are present in the brain for years before the appearance of symptoms (e. g. , Bennett et al. , 2006; Morris et al. , 1996; Petersen, 2004; Price et al. , 2009; Rubin et al. , 1998; Storandt, 2008) indicating that early symptoms of the disease are likely to be present in some adults who appear to be normal.
Doctors and Researchers have diagnosed the disease with having 7 stages. Throughout the first stage, individuals are still what appear to be normal. They are able to do normal task with no difficulties at all. In the stages 2-3, the individual may begin to realize that they are having issues with their memory. This is especially more apparent with recent memories. The hypothalamus, which is part of the brain responsible for changing experiences into memories, is the first part of the brain attacked by Alzheimer’s disease.
In this stage, words become unfamiliar and difficult to recall, and items get misplaced frequently. According to Alzheimer’s Disease Research Foundation,” there is an overall shrinkage of brain tissue. The grooves or furrows in the brain, called sulci (plural of sulcus), are noticeably widened and there is shrinkage of the gyri (plural of gyrus), the well-developed folds of the brain’s outer layer. In addition, the ventricles, or chambers within the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid, are noticeably enlarged. As you continue to age, the disease changes your brain’s regular patterns and forming. Stage 4-5 Within stages 4-5 the symptoms become significantly worse. At this stage it is evident to friends, family and co-workers. In this point recent memories may not process and old memories will begin to fade. The recollection of any history and personal information becomes difficult to remember. They may not be as social as they previously were and conversations will become more difficult and less frequent. Majority of the time, AD individuals forget the day of the week, the month, or even the season.
They ability to do basic arithmetic and regular task become more difficult; For example, paying bills and solving basic math problems. In most cases, individuals lack on maintaining good hygiene and their personality changes. It is possible that genuine category specific deficits may emerge from the presence of disproportionate damage to particular brain regions underlying specific concept features. This may especially apply to AD as it typically affects the associative cortex of the temporal lobes (Giffard et al. , 2008). As the disease begins to progress the brain tissue shrinks.
According to Alzheimer’s disease Research, “In Alzheimer’s disease the tau protein is abnormal and the microtubule structures collapse. The ventricles, chambers within the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid, are noticeably enlarged and the protein fragments would break down and be eliminated. In Alzheimer’s disease, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaques. ” During stage 4-5 the memory problems increase and make living independently impossible and dangerous. It is during this time that alternate living arrangements are made for the protection of the individual with the disease.
Stage 6-7 At this stage, the individual may not even remember actions that have occurred in the past few seconds. Personality changes and behaviors become more pronounced and disturbing. An increased amount of help is required for this individual. Their basic activities of daily living become difficult, and getting dressed may cause an issue for them. Behavior and emotional problems can occur and cause stress not only to the individual, but also to family and friends. AD indviduals become very violent and have the tendency to yell.
These changes are based upon the reaction to their condition, as well as, the neurological affects of the disease. The individual at this stage of Alzheimer’s is aware that they are no longer independent, and many of their physical abilities are declining. At the last stage, walking becomes increasingly difficult, even with help and then impossible. The function of being able to support themselves to sit and lift up their head becomes innate. The ability to speak can be lost almost entirely. Death is a result from the shutdown of organs if AD reaches the final stages.
However, death often occurs earlier as a result of Alzheimer’s disease before the final stage is reached. Infections from pneumonia and bedsores, which the body is unable to fight normally, are two of the most frequent causes. In conclusion, Alzheimer ’s disease is one that deteriorates the body slowly. It becomes so damaging to the body that its only end is death. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s at the moment. Scientist and researcher’s make new discoveries every day on how to cure different diseases and hopefully one day this will be one that can be cured.