Susanne- Alzheimer’s

   Plaques and Tangles

   I chose this topic because I wanted to learn more about the disease that took my grandfather’s life. Although I was very young at the time, I remember how hard it was for me to come and visit one of my favourite people in the world just to be greeted by a scared look and my grandfather asking me who I am and what I want from him. This is why I decided to research this disease so I could help others go through what I’ve been through. I learned to live with it since my parents told me it is a normal part of aging, but sadly at the age of five I didn’t fully understand that he was sick and not just teasing me. There were many times when I would come home crying because I thought my grandfather was making fun of me or was trying to be mean, but after researching it I now know that it is something you can’t control. Although this might not affect teenagers physically, it makes their life a lot worse when having a friend or family member with it. As I mentioned before, it puts a lot of pressure on them and it makes them feel unloved and disconnected from their friend or family member. There is also a lot to remember when around someone with Alzheimer’s, most importantly you have to play along and act like nothing is wrong. The patient does not know that they have the disease, so trying to convince them will only make them frustrated because they don’t know it themselves. After looking deeper into the topic of Alzheimer’s, it got me a lot more aware of the different effects of aging. I used to think it was a disease that maybe one out of one hundred people were affected by, but it turns out that it is an extremely common disease around grown-ups sixty-five years or older. There are only up to five percent of people with this disease that have early onset Alzheimer’s which appears when someone is in their forties or fifties. I am now a lot more aware of the disease incase I myself or anyone else I know catches this terrible disorder.

        I have learned a lot about this topic. First of all, I found the definition of Alzheimer’s and what is does to your brain. Alzheimer’s is known for being the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury. Knowing what dementia is makes is easier to understand what Alzheimer’s is. Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour which is happening because brain cells are failing. As you can see in the image above, the blue highlighted parts are showing plaques and tangles. Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid  that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau that build up inside cells. You can see that the plaques and tangles get worse as Alzheimer’s progresses, and they are a huge part of worsening the disease. What I found fascinating is the fact that they have trouble not only remembering events that happened many years ago but events that happened hours or even minutes earlier. Furthermore, so far there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there is medicine you can take that can temporarily slows down the worsening and can improve the patients quality of life in the present. In addition, I studied the cycle of catching this disorder and how it worsens over time. People with Alzheimer’s start of by having trouble remembering newly learned information, feeling disoriented, or having mood and behaviour changes. This is usually noticed by friends and family. The symptoms gradually get worse over time with the patients having an average lifespan of eight years after the disease is noticeable to others.  If you are lucky, you can live up to the maximum estimation of twenty years after the disease is discovered depending on age and other conditions. As the disease gets worse, patients can start experiencing unfounded suspicions about family, and friends, behaviour changes, deepening confusion about events, time and place. At it’s worst, Alzheimer’s can cause difficulty speaking, swallowing, walking, and individuals can lose their ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. After learning this tragic information, let’s end on a happier note. To summarize what I think of this disorder would be that although it is a natural and common part of aging, it is terrible and it is something that we urgently need to find a cure for. I bet many others just like me found comfort in the fact that is it common in people with older ages, and their is medicine to slow it down. After taking a second look at what was written, I started noticing how important it is to find a cure. Although it may not be as bad as cancer, it is definitely worse for the people who have to help and support the patients. At the start of wellness I thought that we were just going to learn about eating healthy, exercising and that we shouldn’t take drugs. Now I know that there’s a lot more to being healthy, and especially after this health buzz I know now the horrible tragedies that can happen to our bodies and minds.

 

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