We are currently living in the age of technology. Our advancements in the
past few decades overshadow everything learned in the last 2000 years. With the
elimination of many diseases through effective cures and treatments, Canadians
can expect to live a much longer life then that of their grandparents. In 1900
about 4% of the Canadian population was over the age of 65. In 1989 that figure
tripled to 12% and the government expects that figure to rise to 23% by the year
2030 (Medical,1991,p.13). This increase has brought with it a large increase in
diseases associated with old age. Alzheimer's dementia (AD) is one of the most
common and feared diseases afflicting the elderly community. AD, once thought to
be a natural part of aging, is a severely debilitating form of mental dementia.
Although some other types of dementia are curable or effectively treatable,
there is currently no cure for the Alzheimer variety.
A general overview of Alzheimer's disease including the clinical
description, diagnosis, and progression of symptoms, helps one to further
understand the treatment and care of patients, the scope of the problem, and
The clinical definition of dementia is "a deterioration in intellectual
performance that involves, but is not limited to, a loss in at least 2 of the
following areas: language, judgement, memory, visual or depth perception, or
judgement interfering with daily activities" (Institute,1996, p.4).
The initial cause of AD symptoms is a result of the progressive
deterioration of brain cells (neurons) in the cerebral cortex of the brain. This
area of the brain, which is the largest and uppermost portion, controls all our
thought processes, movement, speech, and senses. This deterioration initially
starts in the area of the cortex that is associated with memory and then
progresses into other areas of the cortex, then into other areas of the brain
that control bodily function. The death of... [continues]
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(1999, 10). Alzheimer's Disease Summary 23. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Alzheimer%27s-Disease-Summary-23-2136.html
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