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What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

What is Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s Disease also known as Senile Dementia is an incurable, degenerative and fatal illness that affects about 800,000 people in the UK.   Alzheimer’s disease usually affects people 60 years or older, however there are rare cases of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, which occurs in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s are usually not picked up or overlooked in such cases due to the younger ages involved.

Alzheimer’s disease was first described by Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and Neuropathologist in 1906 which is where the name Alzheimer’s disease came from.

What actually happens in Alzheimer’s Disease?

In Alzheimer’s disease healthy neurons are destroyed in the brain by what is known as Amaloid plaques. These are dense deposits of protein and cellular material outside and around the brain’s nerve cells which are found inside the brains of people who suffer from Alzheimer disease) In addition to these plaques neurofibrillary tangles (Tangles are twisted fibers that build up inside the nerve cells) also form when protein pieces beta-amyloid (BAY-tuh AM-uh-loyd) clump together (Beta-amyloid is chemically “sticky” and it gradually builds up into plaques).  It’s thought that these small clumps block cell-to-cell signalling at synapses (where impulses pass from nerve cell to nerve cell).  The deposition of amyloid in the form of plaques is thought to trigger the cascade of events leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

These Plaques tend to aggregate in the memory areas of the brain, in particular the short term memory areas that control the ability to learn a new fact and remember it 30 minutes, or a day later.

Alzheimer’s disease is unique to each person; however Alzheimer symptoms follow a standard pattern and have a similar outcome.  In many cases the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s can go un-noticed, this is because Alzheimer’s is a slow degenerative disease and symptoms like changes in mood or personality, decreasing or poor judgement, withdrawal from work or social  activities and trouble understanding visual image and spatial relationships can lay hidden and go totally unrecognized even by close family.

As has been said Alzheimer’s Disease progresses very slowly the average time for progression is around 10 years from initial to final stages. Over this period the person affected will go though many changes both physically and mentally as neurones within the brain become damaged and die. Slowly their character is stripped away as is their memory as they forget who even the closest family members.  In the final stages the family are left with a stranger who is unable to communicate is often disorientated and does not know the people around him who less and less frequently reverts back to the loving caring person they all knew and loved.

The burden placed on families who have loved ones afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease can be immense. As the disease progresses more and more family resource is needed to ensure that the correct care and support is provided and that a loved one is safe.

 Sadly Alzheimer’s disease is incurable; there is no medical or natural treatment available to stop its progress.  There are Medications that can slow its progress down but sadly once the disease is established the end result is a slow steady deterioration of mental and physical capabilities and death.  Alzheimer’s disease is reaching epidemic proportions and most people in the UK have been directly affected or know someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

We are trying to raise money to help fight this cruel and debilitating disease please watch our Video Worried About My Daddy by clicking this link or download the song by clicking this link.  Please also donate by either clicking the button at the top of the left side bar or clicking this link http://www.justgiving.com/worriedaboutmydaddy

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