As uncommon as the name of the disease sounds, its prevalence and incidence rates are not. In fact, 820,000 people in the UK are affected by this problem. This disease does not discriminate and affects men or women, across all social status and economic position in life.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive and degenerative disease under the umbrella of diseases called dementia. There are around 100 different types of dementia however Alzheimer’s is responsible for about 60% to 70% of all dementias. It is characterized by disorientation and impaired memory. It is caused by an attack in the brain, affecting one’s memory, thinking skills and judgment. Most patients will experience a change in language ability, in the way they use their mental processes and of course their behaviour.
While anybody can be affected by this disease, only it’s primarily those older than age 65 that experience the lagging in their thinking skills and their ability to remember things. Still, there are some who gets Alzheimer’s even when they are just 30 years old but these cases are very rare and only account for a small percentage of the total number of cases. One out of 10 people over the age 65 has Alzheimer’s and nearly half of these patients are over 85 years old. 25 million of the UK population have a close friend or family member with dome form of dementia.
In addition to old age, family history of can also predispose someone to this condition. This is because Alzheimer’s is said to be caused by a problem in the genetic mutations. Still, when you study Alzheimer cases, it is can also be associated with a host of other factors besides genes. In fact, environmental factors such as hobbies and mental pursuits are things that can help prevent the onset of the problem.
What is difficult with Alzheimer’s is the fact that its symptoms mimic the signs of old age. At the beginning, there will be some memory loss. The person with Alzheimer’s will also experience confusion and disorientation even with things that they are used to doing. The trick is to make sure that one can recognize what normal memory loss is in comparison to memory loss associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Often, there will be a gradual memory loss and difficulty with reading and writing or to thinking clearly. After which decline in the ability to perform tasks that are already automatic and routine will ensure. In the terminal stage, the patients may even forget how to brush their teeth or how to use a spoon and fork, something that is almost automatic with people not affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
There will also be difficulty in learning new things and in memorizing things. Some patients may even forget the language that they are speaking with while others will no longer recognize their family. Personality will change in terms of the way they communicate with other people and the way they behave.
There is actually no change in personality per se but because of the problems in their memory, they may appear aloof and suspicious perhaps because they cannot recognize the people that they know before. Some may even become extremely fearful and passive for the simple fact that they cannot remember you. As the disease worsens, the patient will then become so incapable of taking care of themselves that they will require help even in eating and in sleeping.
So that is what Alzheimer’s disease is but its so much more as we found when our dad was diagnosed with it. It stole his personality and character and until as is said above he did not recognise even the closest of family. It then slowly debilitates his mental faculties and in the process causes his body to break down. As we sadly found out Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease which cannot be cured.
Following the experience with our dad and Alzheimer’s disease my brother Chris and I are on a crusade to raise £20,000 to help with Alzheimer’s research and support. Chris has written and produced and recorded a song and a video of a song called “Worried About My Daddy”. Please, Please, Please go to our website http://worriedaboutmydaddy.com/ to listened to and DOWNLOAD the song or watch the video introduced by not other than Sir Cliff Richard. If you can afford donate to our worthy cause it would be very much appreciated.
If you are currently facing a situation that a loved one is affected by Alzheimer’s don’t give up you are all they have and even though they may not recognise you a lot of the time there will be times when they do and that is the little ray of light that will keep you going.