Instructor : Amanda Frei
October 08, 2012
Alzheimer's is a progressive neurodegenerative disease known as the most common form of dementiacharacterized by the gradual loss of the intellectual capacities affecting memory, thinking and behavior. As the disease progresses it causes impairment of the cognitive functions leading to the loss ofautonomy consequently demanding care of family and heath care professionals. Although the specific causes are still unknown, Alzheimer’s has a variety of probable causes, and treatments that are onlyintended to slow down the progression of the disease without offering a cure demonstrating how Alzheimer’s is a very challenging health condition.
Among neuron damage, genetic makeup, head injuries,and environmental changes, one of the most probable factors for the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease is the age factor, given that the disease is more common in elderly people 65 and older. Thus,because of the aging population caused by the baby boomers effect, researchers believe that the number of cases of Alzheimer`s disease tend to increase significantly in America. In the article “Couldit bankrupt the health-care system”, Bettelheim cites that, in the United States about 4 million Americans suffer from some form of Alzheimer’s, and according to the Alzheimer's Association the numberof cases are estimated reach 14 million by 2050 if a cure is not found (par 3).
Primarily, the most common symptom is forgetfulness. Victims of Alzheimer’s often forget small things of everydaylife such as what they did the day before, the name of the people familiar to them, name of objects and how to use them. For example, Cary Henderson, a history professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’sdisease, at some point could not remember how to use a can opener making evident how the disorder impairs basic functions of everyday life (Bettelheim, 1998). Afterward, as the disease progresses...