Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dementia senile.

Alzheimer’s disease is an extremely upsetting form of dementia which can be characterized in numerous ways. It’s a progressive illness which worsens over time and is devastating to both the patient and their loved ones. Alzheimer’s disease can initially be subtle in its onset with just occasional lapses in memory and thought processes spotted by relatives and close friends.

Because Alzheimer’s is mostly found in older people, these “lapses” are often put down to age-related changes. On the other side of the coin, many older people have been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when they have only age-related forgetfulness. In the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s disease, one of the classic symptoms is forgetting recent events or the names of people they know well. Solving math problems or a puzzle becomes too difficult for them. This may lead to frustration on the part of the individual who may realize there’s something wrong with them.

As the illness advances, these symptoms continuously worsen until ultimately the friends and family of the victim realize that something is seriously wrong. At this time, the patient may still be in complete denial. This makes it much tougher to get them to find help. In due course the issues related to Alzheimer’s disease become so bad they affect the person’s activities and daily living tasks. They may become so ill that they can no longer care for themselves. Even something as basic as cleaning their teeth, fastening buttons or tying shoelaces becomes too hard.

Eventually the person cannot think clearly at all. They do not recognize familiar faces or names. If english is their second language they lose their capability to communicate or understand it. They will also lose the facility to read and write. They frequently become totally uninterested in food, and caregivers will find it a nightmare making sure they’re kept well nourished. Eventually they may endure a radical personality change where they become agressive, use foul language and wander away from home. They may finally lose the power to walk. This is the stage where if they are still at home, the caregivers need to ask whether it might be fairer to both themselves and the Alzheimer’s patient for them to be cared for in a nursing facility.

At the time of writing, scientists haven’t yet discovered what really causes Alzheimer’s disease, though there is a lot of supposition. It is assumed that there’s possibly a mixture of factors. This would also account for why it’s so tricky to get a cure. It is also assumed that genetic factors can have a part to play.

It is said by a number of researchers that genetics plays a vital part in whether an individual will develop Alzheimers disease or not. It has been showed clearly that early onset Alzheimer’s disease (occurring between the ages of 30-60) is an inherited illness. So it’s a logical conclusion to reach. Although serious strides have been made into the study of Alzheimer’s disease, there’s sadly still a long way to go before a cure is discovered. Researchers still must study environment, health and diet before they can reach any positive conclusions. Now much of what’s “known” about Alzheimer’s disease is simply theory and guess work.

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