A Research Paper for Science
It occasionally happens to everyone. You can’t find your glasses. The grocery list is on the refrigerator, and you’re at the store. You forget the new neighbour’s first name. With over one hundred billion cells, fifteen thousand connections, and forty-five chemical messengers, it isn’t surprising that the brain periodically misfires. Often, these memory lapses are merely inconvenient. However, they can signal more serious medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Recognizing normal changes, learning risk factors, and assessing signs and symptoms are critical for understanding your memory loss. If forgetfulness is impacting your everyday life, it is time to learn why. Body
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer's disease (AD), also called Alzheimer disease, senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT), primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer's type (PDDAT), or simply Alzheimer's, is the most common form of dementia, a serious brain disorder that impacts daily living through memory loss and cognitive changes. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease, progressing from mild forgetfulness to widespread neurological impairment and ultimately death. Chemical and structural changes in the brain gradually destroy the ability to create, remember, learn, reason, and relate to others. As critical cells die, drastic personality loss occurs and body systems fail.
Who develops Alzheimer's disease?
The main risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is increased age. As a population ages, the frequency of Alzheimer's disease continues to increase. Ten percent of people over 65 years of age and 50% of those over 85 years of age have Alzheimer's disease. Unless new treatments are developed to decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, the number of individuals with Alzheimer's disease in the United States is expected to be 14 million by the year 2050.
There are also genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Most patients develop Alzheimer's disease after age 70. However, 2%-5% of patients develop the disease in the fourth or fifth decade of life (40s or 50s). At least half of these early onset patients have inherited gene mutations associated with their Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, the children of a patient with early onset Alzheimer's disease who has one of these gene mutations has a 50% risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
There is also a genetic risk for late onset cases. A relatively common form of a gene located on chromosome 19 is associated with late onset Alzheimer's disease. In the majority of Alzheimer's disease cases, however, no specific genetic risks have yet been identified.
Other risk factors for Alzheimer's disease include high blood pressure (hypertension),coronary artery disease, diabetes, and possibly elevated blood cholesterol. Individuals who have completed less than eight years of education also have an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. These factors increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, but by no means do they mean that Alzheimer's disease is inevitable in persons with these factors.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?
The onset of Alzheimer's disease is usually gradual, and it is slowly progressive. Memory problems that family members initially dismiss as "a normal part of aging" are in retrospect noted by the family to be the first stages of Alzheimer's disease. When memory and other problems with thinking start to consistently affect the usual level of functioning; families begin to suspect that something more than "normal aging" is going on.
Problems of memory, particularly for recent events (short-term memory) are common early in the course of Alzheimer's disease. For example, the individual may, on repeated occasions, forget to turn off an iron or fail to recall which of the morning's medicines were taken. Mild personality changes, such as less spontaneity,...