Baby Boomers: Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia usually occuring in old age and afflicts an estimated 30 million individuals in the world. The illness is fatal and death follows swiftly within ten years after first indication of symptoms. Alzheimers disease is seen amongst baby boomers, and occurs specifically in individuals above the ages of 65. The disease was first distinguished in 1906 by a Alois Alzheimer,a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist and therefore named after him. It is also noted that a less prevelent form of Alzheimer’s disease exists which is the early onset form of the illness, is mostly familial in nature and shows some of the symptoms affecting individuals who are mostly in their 50’s and in rare cases individuals between 30’s and 40’s.

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of the disease are:

1. Unusual memory loss where the patient fails to recognize recent events be it places, people or situations.

2. Mood swings and emotional discrepancies.

3. Psycho-motor disabilities where the patient fails to perform complex tasks such as driving and eventually desecrates to a point where the individual cannot even light a match and are dependent completely for care and

As studies indicate, Alzeimer’s disease is caused mostly through gene mutations where great abnormal deposits of a type of protein called Amyloids gathers in the brain tissue, creating knots and clumps which hamper with the mental processes. The numbers keep increasing with each year and the disease can be considered one of the most dangerous illnesses in the world. Some research studies have even claimed, at least one of eight people from the baby boomer generation is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It is also noted that the condition is much more prevalent in women as compared to men.

Accounting for more than 60% of the cases in dementia, Alzheimer’s disease mainly has a drastic impact on the entire life of the patient and those around him causing a lot of misery and suffering for all. The brain disorder grips the individual in a manner where his mental processes slowly collapse destroying his sense of reason, imagination and memory. It gets worse where the individual cannot even perform simple tasks and are completely dependent on a caregiver. In the initial stages, the person is capable of understanding his failings which makes life painful, and eventually the condition becomes so worse that the person can never work to the extent that he once could.

Close friends and family members usually face the worst as they suddenly find themselves forsaken and in most cases hurt knowing that their names or relation bring no recollections in the patient.

Research and experimentation is being pursued to find a cure for this disease and a credible solution is yet to be discovered. The only hope that can be given to patients is medication which slows the process down and emotional support provided by friends and family.

The severity of the disease makes it imperative for baby boomers to take precautions against the onset of the disease. Regular physical checkups and consultation with doctors is a must to detect any signs of disease at the onset and start medication to slow down the process.