Alzheimer's Disease

3170 Words Nov 16th, 2012 13 Pages
The Role of Caregiving to Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
Megan Zann
April 27, 2012
Health Psychology
Dr. Ackerman

Introduction
It is normal to periodically forget your keys or a homework assignment, because you generally remember these things later. However, individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease may forget things more often, but they do not remember them again. The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease has dramatically increased because people are living longer. This is a result of advancements in medical technology that are increasing the human life span. That being said, now there is more responsibility placed on the individual and their caregivers to provide a supportive environment to combat this disease.
Alzheimer’s
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Plaques are formed from deposits of the beta-amyloid protein collecting in the spaces of the brain between the nerve and cell (Unknown Author 2011). Researchers believe that plaques and tangles affect the brain by blocking communication between cells and therefore disrupt the processes needed to survive. “It is the destruction and death of nerve cells that causes memory failure, personality change, problems carrying out daily activity, and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease” (Unknown Author 2011).
Risk factors
The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are somewhat a mystery. However, specific characteristics have been identified to make individuals more vulnerable to becoming a victim of this disease. Like with many other diseases, family history poses a threat to individuals. If there is a “genetic mutation on chromosomes 1, 14, and 21” then there is an increased likelihood of developing early on-set Alzheimer’s. In addition to this, people who are carriers of a specific version of apolipoprotein-E-gene are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The most important risk factor is age. “8% among people over age 65 and doubles every 5 years to reach close to 40% among 85-year-olds” (Tampi 2006). Other research suggests that health problems such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease are key components in the progression of this disease. Studies have shown that brain trauma also triggers this

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