Alzheimers Disease Progression
It is important to understand the difference between the general forgetfulness that often accompanies old age and the onset of Alzheimer''s. It is perfectly normal for older people to exhibit forgetfulness and mild forms of some of the other symptoms of Alzheimer''s. This does not in any way mean that they are in the early stages of the onset of Alzheimer''s, or that they will go on to develop a full-blown, extreme case of Alzheimer''s. In addition, many other conditions can cause Alzheimer''s like symptoms. A diagnosis from a professional medical doctor is the only way to be sure.
Alzheimers is named after the German neurologist, Alois Alzheimer, who identified this condition in 1906. Dr Alzheimer had written in a medical paper about the changes he had seen in the brain tissue of one of his patients who had been suffering from loss of memory, apathy and confusion and who had subsequently died thereafter.
Whilst investigating the brain tissue of his patient further, Dr Alzheimer noticed that brain cells and tissue looked somewhat disorganized as compared to a seemingly "normal" brain. He therefore deduced that this difference in the way that the brain cells were presented was responsible in some way for the memory loss that was so typical of Alzheimer''s.
Even in this present time, although medical advances have allowed us to discover and understand a lot more about this sad condition, the answer as to what could be causing the brain cells to become disorganised remains as elusive as ever.
The way in which Alzheimers affects patients is that these normally well-ordered arrangements of nerve cells (which make up the brain tissue) start to become disorganized and it only affects those parts of the brain relating to memory and the storage of information. Therefore, as the brain starts to deteriorate, the brain cells that are so essential to producing hormones and for the proper functioning of muscles, start to die.
Another point to note is that Alzheimers only seems to affect humans. Further, this a condition that does not affect any particular race or geographical location and it affects both sexes equally. In fact, the commonality is that Alzheimers tends to affect older people.
Alzheimers can strike at any time - people who have been fit and healthy may suddenly start to forget little things but gradually over time, this forgetfulness worsens considerably. It is not simply a case of forgetting something, more like a memory loss and having difficulty in trying to assimilate new information. In Alzheimers, this memory loss is permanent and there is no cure for it. To make matters worse, Alzheimers patients even forget faces of those nearest and dearest, such as a husband, wife, parents and children.
As well as suffering from memory loss, the behaviour and personality of sufferers begins to change. People suffering from this condition become restless and distracted. Sometimes, they may start with obsessive rituals - things such as touching objects or hand washing constantly. In some cases, Alzheimers sufferers can exhibit extrovert sexual behaviour or even shoplifting. This can be especially difficult to see in someone you love dearly.
Towards the end, victims can become completely incoherent and disorientated and seem to inhabit a world of their own, totally out of touch with the real world.
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