Alzheimers Disease Argumentative Essay

This essay has a total of 1202 words and 6 pages.

Alzheimers Disease

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It is inevitable that eventually each of us will grow old and begin to face more and more
health problems as our age rises. Elderly people are challenged by many illnesses and
diseases that unfortunately, are incurable. One disease that becomes more common as people
age is Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's a common cause and a form of dementia and can
severely damage a patient's cognitive functions and can ultimately cause death. Living
with Alzheimer's disease can be saddening for both the sufferer and the family. Family and
friends will find it very hard to cope when a loved one begins slipping away and losing
memory of who they are.

Alzheimer's disease comes from the last name of a neuro-psychiatrist from Germany, Alois
Alzheimer. The disease was first diagnosed when a woman in her early fifties began
experience memory problems. "Alzheimer recounted the now famous case of ‘Auguste D.' a
51-year-old housewife who had been failing mentally for several years. As a result she had
been admitted to his care in the Asylum for the Insane and Epileptic…" (Maurer and
Maurer 1). After her death, he continued to examine her brain to find causes and
explanations for her behavior. He discovered "…classic neuro-pathological signs of
plaques and tangles" (Maurer and Maurer 1). "Plaques are chains of amino acids that are
pieces of the amyloid precursor protein…tangles are aggregates of the protein tau"
(Secko 1). As plaques develop they produce tangles and "these two abnormalities ultimately
lead to loss of cognitive function" (Secko 1) Alois Alzheimer's research has allowed many
specialist to conclude that the apolipoproetein E gene may contribute to the disease.

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The occurrence and deposits of these proteins in the brain and in the body may ultimately
lead to whether or not someone will be susceptible and diagnosed with Alzheimer disease.

Alzheimer's disease is rising at a very high rate. "The number of new cases per year is
estimated at 360,000 equating to 980 new cases per day or 40 new cases every hour"
(Cummings and Cole 1) This evidence shows that an increasing number of people will
discover the effects of a cognitive impairment that will most likely be due to Alzheimer's
disease. As people age, their risk of being diagnosed with this disease increases
significantly. "The prevalence of AD double every five years after the age of 60…1%
among those 60- to 64-years old to up to 40% of those aged 85 years and older" and "is
more common in women than men by a ration of 1.2 to 1.5" (Cummings and Cole 1). With the
growing number of people becoming diagnosed, and experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer's
disease, we must begin to take precautions and somehow attempt to gain knowledge of how
the disease can be better treated, and ultimately prevented.

Those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease usually end up in nursing homes or hospice care
centers, because, as the disease evolves to its later stages, the patient typically
becomes unable to care for themselves and is required to have around-the-clock care.
Nursing care is very expensive and can be estimated to cost "…approximately $47,000 per
patient per year" (Cummings and Cole 1). Patients are plagued with not only memory loss,
but also abnormalities of the motor system, problems assessing new information, trouble
speaking and disorientation. "Patients with AD usually survive 7-10

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years after onset of symptoms…and typically die from bronchitis or pneumonia" (Cummings and Cole 2).
Dementia, memory loss, and cognitive breakdown are some of the major signs and symptoms of
Alzheimer's disease. The disease damages brain cells, which in turn, impairs the memory
and leads to loss of memory and the ability to perform tasks. The slow elimination of
cells weakens the brain's ability to remember things, perform normal daily tasks, and also
affects behavioral, personality and psychiatrically problems. Complications become
increasingly difficult as more and more cells weaken and deteriorate. In the first stages,
forgetfulness and the lack of enjoyment or interest in hobbies are prevalent in the
patient. Following this, the patient's ability to perform normal daily tasks, such as
shopping or managing finances, can being to be problematic. As Alzheimer's disease takes
over, sufferers begin to have difficulty with their speech item recognition, abstract
thinking, and memory.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, there are some things family, friends,
and doctors can do to help the patient escape the complications with the disease. Keeping
the patient occupied with brain stimulating activities, such as crossword puzzles, math
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