Alzheimer's: Life Changing at Minimum

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Alzheimer's Disease is a form of dementia (loss of a brain function w/ certain diseases) that gets worse over time and affect's one's memory, thinking, and behavior. There is no official cause of Alzheimer's but usually a person's genes and environmental factors tend to play a role. Even though there is no official cause of Alzheimer's disease, factors that may increase the likelihood of getting AD are old age, family history, high blood pressure for a long time, history of head trauma, and even being female.
There are two different types of Alzheimer's disease: early onset AD, and late onset AD. Early onset AD is much less common than the late onset AD, but it usually gets worse at a faster rate. Symptoms of early onset usually appear before the age of sixty, but early onset can also be hereditary. Late onset AD is the most common type of Alzheimer's. It is capable of being hereditary, but usually is less likely. Symptoms usually occur after the age of 60.
Something that I don't think I really officially knew about Alzheimer's is that there is no known cure. For me, this seems to put AD almost in a league with something like HIV/AIDS in that there is really nothing that one can do about it once they get it. There are drug treatments and such that try and slow the process or neutralize it, but in the grand scheme of things, there really is no stopping it. Some treatments that I found included, slowing the progression of the disease, managing symptoms such as behavior problems, confusion, and sleep problems, and changing your home environment so you can better perform daily activities.
Along with there being no cure for AD, there is also no way of really preventing AD completely. I was able to locate some things that you can do to decrease your risk of getting AD in the future though. These included, consuming a low-fat diet, eating cold-water fish at least 2-3 times per week, increasing your antioxidants by eating lots of darkly colored fruits and veggies, and maintaining a normal blood pressure.
All in all, Alzheimer's is a major, life-changing disease that has impacted millions of people. It is estimated that around 5.4 million people have Alzheimer's disease meaning that the lives of each person's family members, friends, work associates, etc. has also been impacted by this tragic disease. It not only slowly destroys a person's life, but also is an extremely high maintenance condition. It involves countless hours of caregiving and work, just to keep daily routines somewhat in-check. In all, I'd have to say that AD would possibly be one of the worst things ever to happen to anybody, and therefore I encourage everyone to try and take the proper steps towards preventing it.

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Alzheimer's is actually something I knew very little about until we found out my grandmother was diagnosed with it five years ago. Since then I have come to think it's one of the worst diseases that can afflict a family. My grandmother went through enormous emotional trauma trying to cope with the memory loss and dependency, and it was really hard for us to see her in that state, especially towards the end when she completely relied on us for the most basic functions. One of the things I learned when I was looking into it is that about 60-80% of late onsets are actually caused by genes which was a really alarming thing to find out. Since the predictions for people with Alzheimer's is only getting higher, hopefully some more information can be found out about the disease soon.

I thought this was a very informative post. Growing up, my best friends' grandma had Alzheimer's, so I got a little taste of how vicious the disease is first hand. It was very sad to see her slowly lose her daily functions. It's a nasty disease and hopefully there can be a cure figured out soon!

Have you ever experienced Alzheimer's in your own life (someone you know?) What made you decide to write about this topic. Be sure to site where you are getting your information from!

I really liked this post. I have a grandmother who is currently living in a caregiving home specialized with people who have Alzheimer's and dementia. You're definitely correct in saying that many hours of caregiving and money is spent on the disease. It's crazy the implications finding a cure would have economically. What I didn't realize before reading your post was the difference between the early onset and late onset aspects of the disease. I never knew there was a difference! It definitely explains to me now why some individuals suffer from the disease so rapidly, while others (like my grandma) can live with it for many years. I'm happy to see there are some steps one can take to avoid the disease! I wonder what the causal reason is why those particular and seemingly random assortment of tips work.

Wow, I had never thought AD was that terrible and after learning about all of the ins and outs of the disease it really worries me. My good friend's grandpa had AD and it was mostly under control, or so they thought, one day he took the car out to run and get some bread and he didn't come back that day. He couldn't remember how to get home and was lost for 3 days until he asked people how to get to where he lived and he returned home. Watching their family endure that kind of situation was absolutely heart breaking and really made things real for me and how destructive this disease is. When what used to be easy daily activities become something one needs help with on a regular basis i completely agree, one's world honestly is so broken up. It's hard for me to imagine having someone i love be diagnosed with AD. I don't have any clue how or what could be a cure for AD, but i really hope with our technology something can be developed on top of the drugs that slow or neutralize the process.

It was interesting reading a more medical-type description of AD. My grandfather has it and so I have seen a lot of what you are saying (of the quick decline after around 50 years of age, etc) in him. It is sad that there is no cure for it. To take a person's memory so they can't even recognize their own children is a very sad thing. Hopefully they are able to find a way to cure/prevent it.

My Grandma had alzheimers and my Grandpa has alzheimers. I didn't really know much about the disease until it directly affected my family. Seeing my Mom have to deal with this and how much time she has put into caring for my grandparents makes me realize how much work it is. It is sad to slowly see my grandpa's memory fade and it was sad seeing my grandma's memory go away. I agree that it is one of the worst diseases, along with many other diseases, but I also wish there was more information out there about it, since I had never really heard of it before my grandparents were diagnosed with it.

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This page contains a single entry by schw1344 published on March 4, 2012 6:02 PM.

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