Alzheimers Disease Essay

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We are currently living in the age of technology. Our advancements in the past few decades overshadow everything learned in the last 2000 years. With the elimination of many diseases through effective cures and treatments, Canadians can expect to live a much longer life then that of their grandparents. In 1900 about 4% of the Canadian population was over the age of 65. In 1989 that figure tripled to 12% and the government expects that figure to rise to 23% by the year
2030 (Medical,1991,p.13). This increase has brought with it a large increase in diseases associated with old age. Alzheimer's dementia (AD) is one of the most common and feared diseases afflicting the elderly community. AD, once thought to be a natural part of aging,
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The second characteristic, neurofibliary tangles, is what separates AD from all other forms of dementia. Neurofibliary tangles take place within the disconnected brain cells themselves. When examined under a microscope diseased cells appear to contain spaghetti-like tangles of normally straight nerve fibers.
The presence of these tangles was first discovered in 1906 by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, hence the name Alzheimer's disease.
Although the characteristics listed above are crucial to the diagnosis of
AD upon death, the clinical diagnosis involves a different process. The diagnosis of AD is only made after all other illnesses, which may have the same symptoms, are ruled out. The initial symptoms of AD are typical of other treatable diseases therefore doctors are hesitant to give the diagnosis of
Alzheimer's in order to save the patient from the worsening of a treatable disease through a misdiagnosis. Some of the initial symptoms include an increased memory loss, changes in mood, personality, and behavior, symptoms that are common of depression, prescription drug conflict, brain tumors, syphilis, alcoholism, other types of dementia, and many other conditions.
The onset of these symptoms usually brings the patient to his family doctor.
The general practitioner runs a typical battery of urinalysis and blood tests that he sends off to the lab. If the tests come back negative,

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