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Alzheimer’s is a disease found in elderly people. It is a serious form of dementia that inhibits the ability of someone to perform normal daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease is detrimental, not only because it destroys the ability of someone to live on their own and take care of themselves, but also because of the way that it affects the person. Alzheimer’s disease affects about 4.5 million Americans, as well as countless people in other countries.

Beginning Stages

Alzheimer's disease begins slowly and gradually goes through stages where the dementia becomes increasingly worse. Alzheimer’s disease does not usually start until after age 60, when the brain is already starting to malfunction a little. This disease starts out slowly and sometimes the disease is not even recognized until the later stages. At first, Alzheimer’s affects the parts of the brain that controls thought, language, and memory. In the first stages it is common for those suffering
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from Alzheimer’s disease to forget the names or faces of people who they have recently met.

Later Stages

The disease gets progressively worse and worse. People with Alzheimer’s disease will forget the names and faces of family members and people who they have known for all their life. Difficulties in performing activities such as reading and writing, as well as speaking, may occur.

Final Stages

The final stage of Alzheimer’s disease may include the almost complete lack of mental capabilities. Those suffering from this disease will forget almost everything and everyone. Simple everyday tasks are impossible for those suffering from the disease to perform. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s may even wander away from home because they forget where they live. When Alzheimer’s disease is final, those suffering from it have to have complete care, either from family or a nursing home.

The Basic Understanding

Memory functions, although the first in the brain to be affected, is by no means the last. Amyloid plaques and tangles are brain lesions that expedite the decline of the mind in people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Emotions and inhibitions are hard hit by the onset of Alzheimer’s as the brain cells continue to die. Women are more likely than men to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Half the people
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living in nursing homes are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. There are many stories of patients with Alzheimers who slowly begin to forget their loved ones.

Alzheimer’s disease is actually not a normal process of aging, nor is dementia (which is actually what Alzheimer’s is, in its basic form). Damage to the nerves and a buildup of amyloid plaques are the two known causes as of right now. Apolipoprotein E is a promising lead to another cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is a blood protein, commonly called ApoE, which is required for the transport of fatty substances. ApoE is genetically determined for each person and works in each individual differently. Some forms of ApoE have been associated with having a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. However, the involvement of ApoE is not certain, but one thing that is certain is that genetics have a major part in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is directly connected to memory functions. Since Alzheimer’s disease affects memory in the early stages, acetylcholine and Alzheimer’s disease are intricately related.

Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease. Once it has begun, there is no way to actually stop the disease from progressing and getting increasingly worse. However, there are a few drugs that may be able to slow the onslaught of the disease. Drugs that may help slow Alzheimer’s disease are
tetrahydroaminoacridine, L-acetyl carnitine, Cognex. Cognex was the first drug to be approved for mass production and prescription to those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. This disease is detrimental to anyone who suffers from it, but the worst part by far is the way that it affects people, slowly erasing memories of loved ones and forcing them to rely on people who they cannot even remember love them.