Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Alzheimer's Disease

Today's subject is one that is unfortunately close my heart. Just about everyone I know has a family member suffering from this disease and I am no exception. My grandma is entering the middle stages of Alzheimer's and I cannot just sit back and watch. Since doing nothing is not an option I've signed up for an Alzheimer's walk in not just her honor but for everyone who's family is being hurt by this painful disease. If anyone reading out there would like to donate to this cause just follow this link and you'll be directed to the foundation's secure website. http://ErieCountyWalk.kintera.org/jenniferleib

Alzheimer's disease is an incurable, degenerative, terminal disease first described in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. The earliest observable symptoms are stress and memory loss. Memory loss is often mild at first, usually forgetting recently learned things. More advanced symptoms include confusion, aggression, withdrawal, and mood swings as well as long-term memory loss.

Signs of alzheimer's can appear years before an official alzheimer's diagnosis, these signs are memory loss in the form of decreased ability to absorb new information along with a sense of apathy. As things progress to an official diagnosis, memory loss becomes more apparent and problems with language and movement occur. At this stage it is mostly newer memories that are impaired by the disease. Fine motor skills are also affected, making the patient clumsy.

The moderate stage of alzheimer's disease make it difficult for the patient to live on their own. They begin losing their vocabulary, this causes frequent incorrect word substitutions as reading and writing skills are lost. The patient may no long recognize their close family members and lose the ability to perform complex tasks. Their long term memory begins to fade and behavioral changes become more apparent. Mood swings such as agression or crying begin to occur.

In the final stages of alzheimer's disease the patient is completely dependant. They lose most of their speech and sometimes all language. Most patients display apathy instead of aggression as with the less advanced stages. Eventually the patient cannot take care of themselves at all and either the brain loses control of basic function or they pass away because of other diseases due to a weakened immune system.

1 comment:

  1. I just lost both of my grandmothers in the last week. They both had this horrible disease, and it was hard watching them fade away over the last 10 years. Few things in life scare me like this wretched disease.