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Alzheimer’s Disease Paper by Emily Edwards

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The terrible disease known as Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that usually doesn’t begin until much later in life, closer to the age of 60.  There are around 4.5 million people who suffer from this terrible disease and one of the main causes is genetics. Alzheimer’s has many causes, multiple symptoms, and no cure.

Alzheimer’s occurs when the nerve cells in the brain die, causing the signals to not be sent properly from the brain. This then causes issues with memory, making day-to-day living difficult, and putting strain and frustration on the person inflicted with the disease as well as the family. Since the nerve cells die over long periods of time, the disease only progresses more and more as the person ages, causing a rapid decrease in memory and cognitive abilities over time.

Alzheimer’s still has no exact cause. Many suggest genetics or heredity, still others think viruses, food-borne poisons, and even aluminum and zinc could be the culprits, but there is little research to back these theories. The theory of genetics and heredity are the main factors. There has been research to show that the disease is linked to four different chromosomes: 1,14, 19, and 21. On chromosome 19 there is a gene known as APOE and it is said to increase a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s.  In the APOE gene, there is a variant known as the APOE4 and this is the specific part of the gene that is linked to the disease. What seems to be the controversy with research is that even though a person may have the APOE4 gene may not develop the gene and then there are those who don’t possess the APOE gene and do develop the gene. This is what researchers are working to understand, the inconsistence of the genetic markers linked to the disease. The other possibility is through the passing of the gene from parents to children. If they are carriers for the gene, there is a possibility the child may develop dementia and Alzheimer’s as they age.

The disease isn’t visible right away due to the many different symptoms being displayed and the steady death of the nerve cells. These symptoms are displayed slowly and sporadic at the beginning.  Some of the symptoms that are common with this disease are confusion, the impairment of one’s memory, the act of losing personal belongings, and many other symptoms. All of these symptoms progress over time and are sometimes not even recognized until well into the advancement of the disease.

Sadly, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s and there is no way to reverse or stop the disease. There are ways to make it easier for a person with Alzheimer’s to live a daily life. Catching the disease at an early stage is always a plus and can prepare the person with the disease and the family for what lies ahead. Continuing to live life as normally as possible with allow the person diagnosed with the disease to stay independent and social for as long as their disease doesn’t progress too far. Once a patient has progressed too far with the disease living alone is no longer an option. There are drugs that can help slow down symptoms, but none of the drugs will cure the patient.

This disease affects millions of people and causes heartache for the patient and the family. There is much support to find a cure for this terrible disease. Doctors and researchers are continually looking for new ways to prevent such a disease. There has been success thus far, but with new advances in drugs, there is at least a way for patients to slow down their symptoms.

Research from: webmd.com/Alzheimers


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