Psych 500 Life Span Dev - Alzheimers .doc

Psych 500 Life Span Dev - Alzheimers .doc

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Alzheimer’s Disease University of Phoenix
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Introduction Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been defined as: A progressive neurological disease of the brain that leads to the irreversible loss of neurons and dementia. (Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 2009) This disease affects not only the strickened individual but also all of those surrounded by it. It is currently the 6 th leading cause of death throughout the United States. Luckily, through proper education and advancements in technology, AD continues to become more effectively coped with and new preventive measures are being discovered. Often mistaken as a normal process of aging, AD has slowly become the most prevalent of all neurodegenerative diseases. It is estimated that there is as many as 2.4 to 4.5 million Americans are living with this disease. (National Institute of Aging) This degenerative disease attacks the neurons of the brain and eventually leads to the destruction of both memory and thinking skills. In advanced stages there can be a loss of abilities to carry out even the simplest of tasks. Early diagnosis of the disease continues to stand alone as the most critical attribute in the proper treatment of AD. This significantly increases the likelihood of a slower degenerative process and a better livelihood for the diagnosed, but also allows family more time to develop support networks and plan for the future. Causes and Symptoms As we age there are many problems that can begin to form. We often find that we forget things very easily and we misplace items often. You may even begin to wonder or question yourself during this period about the possibility of having Alzheimer’s. The thought itself is very scary but true for so many others. Forgetting minor things is and can be normal. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are much deeper than forgetting minor things. People living with Alzheimer’s experience many difficulties. It exceeds having the ability to remember things, but everyday task become a chore to complete. They find that they are unable to communicate in an effective way and find their self-struggling to do so. There are a number of warning signs that you should pay close attention to. Memory Loss - This can include information that was obtained recently and is one of the more common signs. However, over time the individual begins to forget more and more. Difficulty Performing Tasks – This sign includes symptoms of forgetting daily tasks. Examples of this can include the steps that are taken in cleaning or cooking. They are unable to remember these simple steps. Speech – This can be very frustrating. Individuals forget simple words or replace the words they have forgotten with words that make no sense. Disorientation to Time and Place – This is another common symptom. Many individuals will and can get lost in their own neighborhood. The
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  • Fall '14
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