The word Alzheimer’s is one that is used a lot more in recent terms, compared to what it used to be, but do we actually know what it is? Everyone knows that Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease for anyone to go through and no one would wish it on anyone, but do we really know what Alzheimer’s is?
When I take a look at what Alzheimer’s means, I see it from two different angles, what Alzheimer’s means medically and what Alzheimer’s means for us as people and society as a whole. I’ll be using this page to go through about what Alzheimer’s is from a medical perspective as we take a deeper look into the horrible disease, it truly is.
The best way to start talking about Alzheimer’s, in my opinion anyways, is to watch ths video made by the Alzheimer’s Society first:
Alzheimer’s Disease, as mentioned in the video, is the most common and best understood form of Dementia, affecting around 6 of every 10 people with Dementia. Alzheimer’s can still be present with people who are experiencing other forms of Dementia such as Vascular Dementia, this is commonly referred to as “mixed Dementia”.
Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by a build-up of proteins, both in and around different brain cells, these two proteins are called Amyloid and Tau. Amyloid Proteins have deposits which form plaques around brain cells and Tau Proteins form tangles within different brain cells.
The reason for the build-up in these proteins is still unknown and is something often disputed between different professionals. As different brain cells start to get affected and damage, the result is a decrease in neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) whose purpose is to send messages and signals to brain cells. The affected cells become damaged and eventually they do die.
As the cells start to die, the brain shrinks in size. The Hippocampus section of the brain is usually one of the first parts to be affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. One of the main functions of the Hippocampus is to help the brain form memories. A common symptom for people who are just starting to be affected by Alzheimer’s Disease is the inability to create new memories, due to their damaged Hippocampus.
The most recent memories that a person has are most likely to be forgotten first as the damage to the Hippocampus and the brain as a whole increases. Over time older memories start to get affected and it is a truly horrible experience for anybody to go through.
The reason that older memories tend to fade away last is that they do not rely on the Hippocampus as much, they tend to rely on other parts of the brain for their memories. It is very common for people with Alzheimer’s to retain memories of their childhood and teenage years for much longer than what they had for breakfast, or when they went for a walk last, for instance.
Brain Functions, in a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, do slowly fade away over time. The person suffering will start to remember less and less about who they are, who you are and where they are. It is a heartbreaking thing to witness and is something that so many people are trying to raise money to help combat.
One of the scariest things about Alzheimer’s is that is does not discriminate, it will attack anyone and everyone that it can. Alzheimer’s will go for you no matter who you are, there are even quite a few famous people and celebrities that have either had Alzheimer’s and are sadly not with us anymore, or who are suffering from the condition to this day.
Alzheimer’s is a truly horrible condition which effects are very hard to describe. As people are living longer and longer, the impact that Alzheimer’s has on the population will only unfortunately grow, unless we do more to help stop it now!
Famous Alzheimer’s Quotes
It is a sad, strange irony that so often, in the territory of a disease that robs an individual of memory, caregivers are often the forgottenKaren Wilder
The great tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease, and the reason we dread it, is that it leaves us with no defense, not even against those who love usP. D. James
Alzheimer’s, it is a barren disease, as empty and lifeless as a desert. It is a thief of hearts and souls and memoriesNicholas Sparks
Sources used in this page:
What is Alzheimer’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Research UK – https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/dementia-information/types-of-dementia/alzheimers-disease/ gclid=Cj0KCQjwwr32BRD4ARIsAAJNf_0Z7AOEFHGXWlZLbk4LZBnnJoZPPwWwUCvDFF0fLvrypNHOf-5QXagaAuwREALw_wcB
Alzheimer’s Disease, NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/causes/