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What is Alzheimer’s Disease by Michael Holland Jr.

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most seen form of dementia. Dementia is the loss of brain function that occurs from a disease. The loss of brain function here results in memory loss however includes other types of abilities. Alzheimer’s is responsible for between 50 and 80 percent of all dementia patients. Currently, approximately 4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is known to occur with increasing age it is however not the only risk factor for the disease. A subset of the disease known as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is the term used for those to have this form of dementia before age 65. This form of Alzheimer’s disease accounts for around 5-10 percent (200,000 people) who have early-onset Alzheimer’s. The age group is usually 40 to 50 however it is likely due to genetics. Research has shown that people with early onset are usually those whose parents and grandparents have had the disease as well. Three genes are linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Mutations to APP, PSEN 1, and PSEN 2 are factors believed to be a determinant of potentially receiving early onset.

Diagnosing early-onset Alzheimer’s can be difficult because symptoms associated with the disease can be harder to see as linked to having the disease. Some symptoms such as basic memory loss can be a result of stress. If one has a concern of having early-onset having a genetic consult to have your DNA analyzed could help to determine whether or not you have the mutations to the previously mentioned genes. Being properly diagnosed can help determine what steps are necessary for your future as far as working or even for family support.

Memory loss may be seen as a normal part of aging, however, Alzheimer’s disease has such a more pronounced form of memory loss and only gets worse as time progresses. Their s      is a seven-step model made by Dr. Barry Reisberg, for the effects of Alzheimer’s however he notes not everyone goes through all the stages and symptoms. The first stage is no signs of memory loss due to no actual dementia being present. The second stage of his model is mild cognitive decline. Symptoms include recognition of memory loss and forgetfulness of where things were previously placed. The third stage and fourth stages of the model usually result in memory loss of in events and mathematics. Additional symptoms are being withdrawn from situations and social events. Stage five known as mid-stage Alzheimer’s has holes in gaps and reasoning. In addition, these people need help being able to perform day-to-day tasks to make it through life. Stage six is more severe and people may need help going to the bathroom, some people experience delusions and can become lost. In the final stage, people are unable to interact with the world around them. People at this level have been found unable to smile or know how to eat.

Currently, there are no cures for Alzheimer’s however research continues to find a way to reverse the disease and may even prevent it from occurring if the correct mutations can be found or other risk factors. However, there is treatment for those who experience this disease to help increase the quality of life for those who suffer from this horrible disease. The treatments attempt to stop dementia, in addition to the personal care those who have Alzheimer’s disease need to live their daily lives.


References: MayoClinic.com


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