"Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease of the human brain that is characterized by impairment of memory and a disturbance in at least one other thinking function" (Bronstein & Pulst, 2003). When we hear about Alzheimer's disease, we automatically think of older people. This is because this disease most often occurs in adults after the age of 65. Statistics show that one in eight individuals will have Alzheimer's after they reach age 65 (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2002). Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, which is any medical condition that affects the brain (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2002).
A diagnosis of Alzheimer's is said to be a "diagnosis by exclusion" (Bronstein & Pulst, 2003). This means that there is no certain test just for Alzheimer's, but many tests that rule out other diseases. The early stages deal with short-term memory loss. Examples of this include forgetting to turn off the stove, forgetting what medications were taken on a particular day, or forgetting which medications need to be taken. As the disease progresses, there is more visibility of the declines in abstract thinking and intellectual function development (Bronstein & Pulst, 2003). As the disease enters the final stages, individuals become very confused and disorientated. At this point, the individual's health status has become severely deteriorated, and this can cause them to develop pneumonia or other illnesses that may lead to death. Consequently, most people do not die from Alzheimer's but from other health-related problems. Alzheimer's disease can last anywhere from six to eight years. However, it can be present without obvious symptoms for two to twenty years. The onset of Alzheimer's disease is very slow (Bronstein & Pulst, 2003).
There are many factors that play a role in the cause of Alzheimer's disease. This disease is also the genetic person that has family members with the disease possesses an increased chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's also. This disease is supposedly caused by many effects on the brain. A mutation of a single gene is one condition that is found in the brain of Alzheimer's patients (Bronstein & Pulst, 2003). There are also proteins in the brain that are linked to Alzheimer's. They are the amyloid precursor and two presenilins (Bronstein & Pulst, 2003), which are responsible for the early onset of the disease (Brzyska & Elbaum, 2003). The number one indicator of Alzheimer's is a gene called apolipoprotein E (apoE). There are three forms of this gene. ApoE 4 is the one that is most closely related to Alzheimer's sufferers. This gene is inherited, and when a child receives two of them, one from each parent. As a result, the child's chances of developing the disease are largely increased. ApoE2 is another form of the gene, but this one takes on the opposite route. This gene decreases one's chances of getting Alzheimer's disease.
There are not many prevention methods for Alzheimer's; it's a genetic disea...