Alzheimers Disease Essay Research Paper Alzheimers Disease — страница 2

  • Просмотров 272
  • Скачиваний 11
  • Размер файла 16

or something said over and over. Intellectual abilities are lost eventually. Reasoning with the affected person is no longer a successful way to understand and deal with his problems. Judgement about common everyday situations is drastically diminished. The individual?s capacity to express himself verbally gradually shrinks. Neither is he able to comprehend what others say to him. As the disease progresses, he may gradually lose the ability to speak. Psychiatric symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations can occur. The person can become anxious, restless, agitated, and may even appear to be depressed. His personality will change. In fact, he may not seem to be the same person (Gruetzner, 9). Alzheimer?s disease begins insidiously and progresses slowly but inexorably, until the

sufferer cannot attend to the simplest details of self-care and may not even remember his or her name. Although the symptoms may vary from patient to patient and from day to day in an individual, there are certain common features in all patients, and the disease follows a somewhat predictable path. Initially, the victim may just exhibit a lack of energy, drive, and initiative, and neither he nor his family may be aware that anything is really wrong. The individual may just avoid new challenges and seek refuge in familiar situations. For example, he may want to visit only family members and close, old friends rather than go to new places and meet new people. However, with time, greater changes in mental function and behavior begin to appear, and the disease can traditionally be

divided into three clinical stages. The individual will forget the names of persons well known to him; he will also be unable to remember where he puts carious objects, such as the car keys or his wallet, or what day of the week, month or year it is. He will start forgetting to attend appointments he has made or get lost trying to find places that were once very familiar. In the beginning, such episodes of forgetfulness may just be minor annoyances to the individual and his family, and he may still be able to function reasonably well. Eventually though, lapses of memory will become debilitating (Weiner, 27). The symptoms of Alzheimer?s disease include gradual declines in memory, learning, and attention, and judgement; disorientation in time and space: word-finding and

communication difficulties: and changes in personality. These symptoms may be somewhat vague at first and mimic mental illness or stress-related problems. For example, an executive may not be managing as well as he once did, making bad decisions with increasingly frequency and missing deadlines. Insidiously but inexorably, the changes become unable to add two numbers together. Similarly, a previously talented hostess may no longer be able to set a table. The personality of the patient may change markedly: an outgoing, vivacious person may become quiet and withdrawn; a gentle, caring partner may become aggressive and indifferent. Emotional symptoms, including depression, paranoia, and agitation, may occur intermittently. During the course of the illness, the patient?s needs for

care escalate. Of the four-plus million Americans with dementia, one-third are so impaired that they can no longer manage without assistance in the simplest daily routine activities of eating, dressing, grooming, and toileting (Aronson, 6). Alzheimer?s disease appears to run in families. Immediate (?first-order?) relatives of a patient with the disease have a great risk of developing the disorder themselves. But the incidence of the disease as it occurs in both identical and fraternal sets of twins, though somewhat elevated, is not convincingly high enough to ?prove? a hereditary link. It is thought that the disease may be inherited in some families as an autosomal (any chromosome other than those that determine the sex) dominant gene.