March 23, 2011
Psychology paper: Dementia
The subject of a brain deteriorating disease is one we often avoid. Considering the fact that it is possible for a loved one to be a victim of a memory captivation is unbearable. Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain, not so much a specific disease. People affected by dementia are disabled to the point where they may not be able to get dressed or eat. They have a total lack of problem solving and the ability to control emotions, they are intellectually impaired, and their personality is completely robbed from them. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dementia.html) Dementia is a mental deterioration. It is defined as a progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Areas particularly affected include memory, attention, judgment, language and problem solving, madness or insanity. Although memory loss is a common and major symptom of dementia, it does not mean memory loss by itself defines the disease. (http://scmd.stanford.edu/whatisdementia.html) Dementia can be caused by many disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases. This is where large numbers of neurons in the brain stop functioning and die from losing connections with other neurons. An example of this disease would be Alzheimer’s. (http://scmd.stanford.edu/whatisdementia.html) Dementia has been around since the beginning of time, however research and diagnosis of it has grown in the past 30 years. This research enables a more improved and deeper understanding of what the disease is, who gets dementia, and how it develops and affects the brain. This work is beneficial in finding better diagnostic techniques, improved treatments, and possible ways of potentially preventing these diseases. (http://scmd.stanford.edu/d_history.html) Alzheimer’s was first diagnosed in the early 20th century. Dementia is growing at an epic proportion and has become one the world’s fastest growing diseases. Dementia is quite possibly a medical catastrophe in the making and the problem has not been solved. The staggering results show that there are an estimated 24 million people living with some form of the disease. By the year 2040, 84 million people could be affected by age-related memory loss if there are no major medical breakthroughs in the fight against dementia. Alzheimer’s, being the most common form of dementia, accounts for five million suffering Americans. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and about 13% of Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s. Health experts believe that in a matter of five years 7.7 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 a near 32 million people are expected victims of the disease. (http://www.disabled-world.com/health/aging/dementia/statistics.php) The reason that dementia is sky rocketing is because society is living much longer and the odds of having this disorder are much higher. Females are also more likely to get dementia. One in every six females over the age of 55 could develop dementia. This is only because women traditionally live longer than men. There are two major risk factors for dementia, genetics and aging, which are both uncontrollable. Because therapies are slow coming it is important to adopt a proactive brain health lifestyle immediately to prolong the development of dementia. (http://www.disabled-world.com/health/aging/dementia/statistics.php) Due to the different underlying causes of dementia, symptoms may vary by the individual. Dementia can start out gradually and these symptoms will go unnoticed and unrecognized for some time. Some of the first signs of dementia are short term memory loss, word finding difficulty (compensates by using synonyms or defining the word), forgetting names, appointments, activities, difficulty performing familiar tasks, personality changes, uncharacteristic behavior,...
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