Alzheimer's: the greatest heartbreaker

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Alzheimer's is a very unforgiving disease that takes away a person's memory and mental function until the world that they live in no longer makes sense. A combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that build up and take effect over time are to blame for the tragic loss of brain cells and connections.

While there is no permanent treatment of Alzheimer's disease, there are ways to temporarily improve symptoms, maximize function, and maintain independence. It is also a good decision to seek social services and support networks. There is also no proven way to prevent Alzheimer's, but it is a good idea to stay active and do the same things as one would to prevent heart disease, as the two are believed to have many of the same factors.

As someone with Alzheimer's, things become more and more difficult to do. Even simple and mundane tasks become next to impossible after a while. The world becomes more and more nonsensical as it becomes harder to form complete thoughts and sentences and to understand those around them. It is also extremely heartbreaking for the loved ones of those experiencing Alzheimer's to watch them suffer from the incurable and irreversible disease.

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My grandfather suffers from Alzheimer's, and my life has been changed by it. It started 4 years ago, and now he has progressed to the point of a vegetable. Now living in a home, he has no control over his functions. Furthermore, his body has a hard time functioning to begin with. This has made me do a lot of research because I want to decrease my risk of getting the disease, especially since genetic factors could be a factor. However, in my grandfather's case, he contracted a rare viral disease which sparked the illness. My family has suffered the heartbreak of Alzheimer's, and the worst part is, is that my grandpa has no idea- there is literally nothing left of him but a corpse.

I agree that Alzheimer's disease is a truly devastating disease. When I think about Alzheimer's, I always think about Allie in the Notebook. She portrayed the effects of Alzheimer's by portraying some of its most severe symptoms. It's terrifying how someone with Alzheimer's can at one moment remember their life completely but in the next moment, they are looking at their life from the outside as if it is read to them as a story. The symptoms and progress of the disease are the characteristics of Alzheimer's that disturb me the most. Some early symptoms of the disease include getting lost on familiar routes and not being able to recall familiar objects. This is similar to tip of the tongue syndrome in which you know you know something but can't recall it at the moment. I can't even fathom feeling like this all the time. Other symptoms include losing interest in things that they previously enjoyed, forgetting details about current event, and forgetting events in your own life history hence losing awareness of who you are. This scares me the most because I can’t imagine not caring for the things that I used to love and ultimately losing who I am as a person. This explains somewhat how many people with Alzheimer's also become depressed. Severe Alzheimer's also leads to not being able to recognize family members. The individuals don't even realize that they can no longer recognize the most important people in their lives.

Wow. The sheer fact that Alzheimer's affects 1/10 people and no one is immune is a scary statistic. I don't personally know anyone who has been affected by Alzheimer's at a close level, but this makes me more aware for the future if I ever encounter this disease. I found it interesting how the video related to our studies on memory and how memories are formed in the hippocampus. It makes sense that if something were to destroy brain cells in this area of the brain that there would be serious problems and the world would become more foreign. Great video and article, very informative.

I worked in a nursing home for about 3 years in high school and saw firsthand the misery that Alzheimer's can cause. I saw the whole spectrum of changes that Alzheimer's can cause. There were individuals who entered an almost vegetative state due to the severity of the disease and I also saw those who were fully functional, but their personality had changed to the point that their families couldn't bear to spend time with them because they were no longer the person they knew. Because it changes everything about who the person is, this is a disease that can truly rip apart a family. I wonder if there are things I could be doing now to lessen my chances of developing Alzheimers later in life?

I find it amazing how destructive this disease is psychologically. Unlike most diseases we come across, the physical effects aren't the most astounding. No one close to me has had Alzheimer's so I never really knew the extent of the effects it has, but after watching the video I more fully understand how destructive this disease can become. To watch someone you know go through the different stages of the disease as critical functions of the brain are erased one by one would be very hard. The fact that no one is immune and that it is a very common disease makes me hope that with research a cure could be found soon and before we ourselves are at risk.

Being so close to an individual with Alzheimer's Disease truly does open your eyes to the devastation and direct impact it has on the person. Physically, you really cannot make a distinction between a person with Alzheimer's and a person without. But the psychological toll is destructive. The pain of seeing a loved one struggle to remember things or objects from their past, or even a loved one's name, makes it all the more difficult. And without a cure available, we can only sit back and help them out the best we can. As stated in the blog however,there are ways to temporarily improve the symptoms and help the individual continue to maintain an individual independence. This helps keep the ones we love close to us, despite the immense obstacles in place.

My great-grandmother had Alzheimer's disease for quite a while before she passed away, so I am familiar with the struggles that those who were close to her faced. Neurodegenerative and general cognitive decline with age is something that is terrifying to me, for myself and for those I love. What you said about staying active to prevent these kind of diseases is something I have read about as well (The book is called Brain Rules, I believe). Cardiovascular exercise throughout a person's entire life is extremely good for health in general. It increases blood flow to the brain, and this increase in oxygen is though to keep the brain healthy throughout life. It is a sad paradigm that in this country we seem to expect the elderly to be helpless and deteriorating. Yet there are 90 year old men running marathons and staying extremely active as well, which proves that this fixed idea of the American elderly isn't set in stone.

Who knows, maybe if more people stayed very active throughout their entire lives, there would be a decrease in things like Alzheimer's? It's certainly food for thought.

I think the title of this blog is very fitting for Alzheimer's disease. My grandma has Alzheimer's disease and it really is the greatest heartbreaker. It is not only a heartbreak for family and friends, but also to my grandmother herself. She often times has no idea who any of her family members are, which makes her very scared and uneasy at times. You can tell she knows that we are trying to help her but she has no memory of who we are. It is unbelievable what this disease does to our brains. The advanced technology really has increased the ability to do research on this disease. Hopefully one day there can be a cure or prevention for Alzheimer's disease. Right now the most doctors has came up with as a prevention or staying active, eating healthy, and practicing word/ brain puzzles. These do not prevent Alzheimer's completely, but they reduce the chance of getting it in the future. I think it is interesting how the video talked about what we learned in class about memory and memories being formed in the hippocampus. There is a lot of awareness and research being done on Alzheimer's disease so hopefully they can come up with a cure and more programs to help out families and friends who are dealing with loved ones suffering Alzheimer's.

Both sides of my family has a history of Alzheimer's. I have seen many relatives go from being completely healthy to not even being able to function. What always struck me the most about seeing this disease progress was how much of a toll it took on a persons mental capacity and what that does to their temperament. It not only scares the person because they are loosing their memory but in certain cases it makes them a little unpredictable in their moods. Many of my relatives would get very angry when someone would tell them something that they couldn't remember or corrected them. I noticed this especially with my great uncle. Before he got Alzheimer's he was a very easy going, nice man but after the disease progressed he changed into a much shorter tempered angry man. I'm not saying that Alzheimer's leads to angry outbursts but simply pointing out a common trait that I noticed with my relatives that had Alzheimer's.

I have a great aunt that was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It is just heart wrenching to hear her children talk about what happens when they go to visit. I wish so much that there was some way to cure this devastating disease.

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This page contains a single entry by warl0012 published on March 4, 2012 8:20 PM.

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