I did my Senior Graduation Project on Alzheimer&#x2019;s.
Alzheimer&#x2019;s is a disease that has the potential to affect everybody in someway. This does not mean that everybody will eventually develop this disease but rather it will affect you in your family. Chances are somebody in your family or friends will develop this disease and it will be involved in your life. I am going to go over the basic information on Alzheimer&#x2019;s so when this disease hits one of your lives you will have the background knowledge on it to know what it is.
I have had family members who have dealt with this disease. My grandfather developed it later in his life and when he was dealing with it I had relatively no idea what was happening. I understood the concept of what was happening but never really knew exactly what was going on and what was going on in his brain. It&#x2019;s not a pleasant site to see someone who was as close to your life as he was go through this disease and basically know that he is never going to know who you are again. Since I started researching this disease for the project I am actually happy because now I understand what he went through.
Alzheimer&#x2019;s is a disease that needs to get more research and knowledge going on in the media and public. As shown in the graph by year 2050 there will be approximately 12 million people in the U.S. alone with this disease. There are approximately 26 million people worldwide with this disease currently. Chances are if this disease has not affected you in your life it will sometime. If people can get the information it could help them if it ever does and maybe a cure could be found. I think that along with cancer this is probably the most unknown disease.
Basically to sum everything up, Alzheimer&#x2019;s is a disease that destroys your brain cells. It basically overtime kills more and more cells and that is why this disease gets worse over time. Your whole body is affected by this disease because of how much the brain has control over the body. Basically this disease attacks the brain cells and destroys them more and more over time. Age does come into play but do not rule out anything. This disease is basically attacking your mental ability.
Mr. Alzheimer, a German doctor founded and described the disease in 1906. Although most of the known cases are of those over age 65 there are cases as young as 40 years old. It is a popular misconception that only the elderly can get this disease. While the elderly usually get the more severe cases the younger people still get bad symptoms. With more than 26 million people worldwide with this disease I believe that something needs to change before this really spreads. This disease will affect every person in someway during their life whether you develop it first hand or if a family member gets it.
African Americans and Hispanics are at a higher risk to develop this disease than whites. African Americans are two times more likely and Hispanics are 1 and a half times more likely than whites. A reason this may be is because of the lifestyle and diets. With the food high in sodium or high in fat it could cause high blood pressure or diabetes. High blood pressure or diabetes being a cause could be breakthrough with this disease finding a cure. When I think back on going to see my grandfather at his Alzheimer's facility there were a lot of african americans and hispanics. As you can see in the picture of the Phillies, you have Utley being the one white male being outweighed by 2 african americans and 2 hispanics.
As shown in these two pics it shows how the disease kills your brain cells. Two comparisons show that this disease can really change your brain. In the two comparisons from left to right you can see how much the brain diminishes and how many brain cells you lose from this disease.
Memory loss is the first thing that comes to mind when Alzheimer&#x2019;s is brought up into discussion because that is usually what gives the disease away when first noticed. Some tasks that we can do normally without even thinking twice is hard and sometimes can&#x2019;t be accomplished by patients. Sometimes they lose sense of the basic time and place they are too.
These personality changes are often found in them too. If any of these are noticed they are going to happen more than once so if you see on of these once then don&#x2019;t worry. It will be obvious if someone has mood swings, depression, etc. Don&#x2019;t assume anything because it could just be a bad day or something. Everyone goes through those days where they don&#x2019;t want to talk to anyone and just be alone. You never know so don&#x2019;t assume unless these symptoms persist.
From personal experience I know how this is because of my grandfather. He could not even remember his own children&#x2019;s names and let alone grandchildren. It was hard for him to remember anybody&#x2019;s name even if you just told it to him because of the way their brain changes. You have to constantly remind them who you are in even then they probably won&#x2019;t register it in their head who you are. My grandfather would only remember 1 of his 3 children and only 2 of his 8 grandchildren. It is crazy when you think of how much time he spent with his family and with only time went his memory.
More brain comparisons show once again how much this disease takes your brain from you. The comparisons show even more how much brain cells they destroy.
People with Alzheimer&#x2019;s need to think extra hard to remember how to do simple things like setting the alarm on the clock, remembering where their jacket is, etc. They have bad short term memory and need to keep remembering the simplest of info just to keep on top of everything.
This is the main reason why there are Alzheimer&#x2019;s facilities around the country. They need the attention for their safety. You don&#x2019;t want them falling and getting hurt or having trouble doing the basic necessities like taking a bath or going to the bathroom. They need as much attention that they can get.
They can often forget where they live, what day of the week it is, or even what time it is. Most of the time they depend on other people to tell them and sometimes in bad situations if nobody is around they may never find out. That is one reason why they often get put in hospitals with others with the same disease. Not only for safety but to have other people to interact with.
Abe Simpson, the grandfather, while it might not have been said that he has Alzheimer&#x2019;s definitely shows the symptoms and lifestyle as someone who could have it.
As shown in the graph the number of people with Alzheimer&#x2019;s will only be increasing in overall cases and in ages too.
If you see any of these warning signs don&#x2019;t just assume that the person has this disease. It is possible to lose some memory as you age but if these symptoms persist that is when you start to believe they have Alzheimer&#x2019;s. Remembering children&#x2019;s names, the day of the week, and even where you live are possible warning signs.
If you come across any signs do not panic because it could do a number of things. It could make it seem like it is worse than it is and you never want to the make the potential Alzheimer&#x2019;s patient scared because of the damage it could have on their already deteriorating mind. Just be sure to never assume anything and never freak out.
As with many other diseases or conditions heredity is a reason for developing this disease. 99% of the cases though are not a result of hereditary and it is often mistaken that there are more cases of hereditary related results. There still is no known cause for developing this disease. Lifestyle or any prior head injuries are thought to have a role in developing it though. The lifestyle having to do with exercise habits and diet are big in the research of the disease. Although there is no known cause for Alzheimer&#x2019;s it is never a good idea to have a bad diet mixed with no exercise.
Exercise could be a good prevention because it keeps the brain working and never at rest. It gets the heart moving which helps the brain out at the same time. If the brain is at rest there is a greater chance at developing the disease. Exercise keeps not only your heart and body in great health but also your brain. 3 days of exercise a week should be a good routine to get into whether it&#x2019;s cardio, weight lifting, or yoga.
Any type of exercise helps prevent any type of disease. It doesn&#x2019;t just have to be cardio or heart healthy exercises. Lifting weights or any type of workout related to lifting weights stimulates the mind and gives the body a good feeling. Any type of exercise that gets the heart and brain working is good and could possibly help reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer&#x2019;s.
The NFL has an exercise program called Play 60 where they try to get kids to exercise and get off couch. It is a national youth health and fitness campaign where they get athletes to participate with kids to try to reduce the percentage of obesity in this country among the youth. They not only run this campaign because they want to reduce the obesity percentage though, they also know that exercise can help reduce the chance of diseases and disorders too. Just because a kid is a healthy weight that does not mean they are heart healthy. The NFL knows that and they are trying to get any type of child to exercise to help get America healthy.
When I was in Miami a few months ago they had the campaign going on. Outside Land Shark Stadium in Miami they had a 50 yard field set up for Play 60. They had athletes there to help out and it was a fun environment. They had it all set up when I went to the Pro Bowl on 1/31 and I got to participate in a few drills with some of the athletes. They not only had it going on for the day of the Pro Bowl but they had a week long event set up from North Miami where the stadium is all the way to South Beach where they had little fields set up. I saw a lot of organizations who had info booths set up and the Alzheimer organization was there too. Some current NFL players and music artists had exercise camps going on at local high school in the city too. Even the athletes know that just because a child could be a healthy weight it does not mean they are healthy if they are not getting enough exercise.
There is no known cause of this disease but there are many speculations to why some people may develop this disease. There are millions of people who have or have had this disease and if there is still an uncertainty of how this is caused then that is not a good sign. Lifestyle of the patients is starting to be observed to why they developed it.
As of now there is no way to take medication to get rid of the disease. The medication only makes the symptoms less severe but they are still there. There is basically nothing to do because there is no way to get rid of the disease anyway and it saves money.
Doing nothing is not as bad as it sounds because there is nothing that you can do anyway. It saves money and it saves the patient from dealing with taking medications everyday. It also makes the Alzheimer's patient try to live a regular life.
There are many great nursing homes in the area and is a good place to send patients. Our area that we live in have some of the top rated nursing homes in the country. Nursing homes are probably the best thing to do when you are cautious about leaving a person with this disease alone for safety or for just daily interaction with other people.
Nursing homes are a good investment for family members who are dealing with Alzheimer&#x2019;s because of many reasons. They are always being watched which is good when you have this type of disease. They do types of activities which can help stimulate the brain. They also have great visiting hours to go and see family members.
The Philadelphia area has some of the top hospitals in the area. Lankenau is one of the top hospitals in the country and Philadelphia has some of the top hospitals. The Philadelphia hospitals specialize in the brain category. We are fortunate to live in this area with some of the top hospitals in the nation or even the world.
If you stress about your family member having this disease like you could have somehow prevent it, just stop. The only thing you can do is be there for that person now and treat them regularly. There is nothing you could have done to prevent them from developing this disease and as of now there is nothing you can do to stop this disease for yourself. The only thing to do is to help them live their life to the best of their ability.
In the beginning stages of Alzheimer&#x2019;s you can still get through the day normally. When doing simple tasks such as dialing a phone number they can simply keep repeating the number to themselves to make sure they have the right one. Keeping something refreshed in their head is a good way for them to remember it. In nursing homes they constantly tell their patients the day of the week, month and time so their brain can keep on registering the information.
A way the patients remember certain information is by always thinking about it and repeating it to themselves to make sure they don&#x2019;t forget and to keep it fresh in their mind. Having everything being refreshed in their mind is a good way to remember it because of how many times it comes up.
Make them feel normal like there is nothing wrong with them in the first place. The more normal they feel the less they stress about memory loss and they can enjoy being around you more. You don&#x2019;t want somebody with Alzheimer&#x2019;s to think something is wrong with them. Just be a good family member or friend and pretend they are perfectly fine.
Dementia is most like Alzheimer's because it has to do with the loss of normal activity and loss of memory. Parkinson&#x2019;s disease affects the central nervous system.
Muhammad Ali and Freddie Roach are both coping with Parkinson&#x2019;s. Muhammad Ali is arguably the greatest boxer of all time and Freddie Roach is a trainer for the champion fighter Manny Pacquiao. Michael J. Fox is also probably the most famous patient and even has his own charity organization for his disease that he copes with.
Ronald Reagan is a famous Alzheimer&#x2019;s patient. The 40th president suffered from the disease.
Sugar Ray Robinson, arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time was another famous Alzheimer&#x2019;s patient. I personally think he is the best boxer of all time but Ali comes in at a close second.
For my application I went to the Brightview Retirement Facility in East Norriton. When I went there I learned all about their lives, the facility, and everything that they have to deal with. I personally liked going to see them because they don&#x2019;t see too many visitors during the day and it is a plus for their day.
I talked with one of the waiters and I asked him about the difficulty of interacting with the patients. You have to a lot of patience to deal with them when taking orders. For example, after they ordered their food, 5 minutes later they would ask if they ordered and keep on telling you what they ordered.
In conclusion Alzheimer&#x2019;s is probably one of if not the most unknown diseases of them all because of how it can develop. With the number of people with the disease only growing if a treatment is found it will save millions of people in the future from developing this disease.
By: Alex Muscarella
Alzheimer’s is a
disease that has the
potential to affect
RELEVANCE OF TOPIC
a form of dementia of
unknown cause, usually
beginning in late middle
age, characterized by
progressive loss of
Named in early 1900’s by a
More popular among people
over 65 years old but can
More than 26 million suffer
By 2050 this disease is
believed to affect 1 in 85
Brookmeyer, R; Johnson, E; Ziegler-Graham, K; Arrighi, HM (July 2007). "Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease". Alzheimer's and
African-Americans, Hispanics at higher risk
High Blood Pressure or Diabetes the cause?
Problems with normal
Loss of sense of time
Loss of judgement
People who suffer
from Alzheimer’s often
forget people’s names
including their own
children and people
who they used to see
PROBLEMS WITH TASKS
Easy tasks that would
normally not take any
thought begin to
become a struggle
May lose the ability to
take care of
LOSS OF JUDGEMENT
Time, dates, and their
start getting mixed
characterized by greater
difﬁculty in doing things
that require planning,
decision making, and
WHO DOES IT AFFECT? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-disease/DS00161
Mostly affects people
over age 65
50% of the cases are
over age 85
EXAMPLES OF WARNING
Day of the week?
Where do I live?
WHAT TO DO?
University of PA
HOW TO COPE
Don’t act differently
HOW TO GET THROUGH DAY
HOW TO HELP SOMEONE
WITH THIS DISEASE
A FAMOUS ALZHEIMER’S