Essay Sample on Alzheimer's Disease
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Falling behind on Alzheimer’s Research
It is alarming to reveal the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on both the Government and families affected and compare it to the meager resources available for combating the problem. The government does not only spend twice as much in the treatment of the disease but also exceeds the cost of treating cancer. More alarming is the fact that these costs are likely to rise in the near future.
The families of the patients, on the other hand, spend a fortune in caring for their loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The high cost is mainly because the diseases linger for years before it the patient finally succumbs to its effects. This paper seeks to portray Alzheimer’s disease as a social problem and the inadequate efforts to minimize it are impacting.
Background of Alzheimer’s disease
Barely a century old, the disease was discovered and named after a German physician (Alois Alzheimer). Alzheimer presented a female patient who exhibited symptoms of memory loss among other cognitive issues that were later attributed to minute structures of protein concentration in her brain. Since this incident, more aged people past the age of 65 have also exhibited the symptoms. Since the disease takes time to affect the patient, very few young people are affected to date. A research on the Alzheimer’s patients in 2014 revealed that most of the patients in the United States in America are women.
The discouraging fact is that there is neither a patient who recovered from this condition nor a treatment that is effective to stop the advancement of the disease in the brain. According to the Robert Egge, who is the Chief public policy officer at the Alzheimer’s Association of America, there is presently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast to the commonly accepted notions, this disease, Egge explains, is not a normal sign of aging.
Government funding directed towards research and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is a fraction of the budget on health-care allocations. These meager costs are evident despite the fact that the disease is widespread and claims more lives than the dreaded Cancer or heart disease. The research conducted in 2014 indicated that over 5 million Americans, mostly women suffered from Alzheimer’s.
The government allocated only $566 million towards the research after the Congress added $100 million in the 2014 budget. Although this is an increase in the budget since the Congress' resolution to commit more resource towards the national Alzheimer’s project in 2011, it is not enough to make any reasonable impact in the war against the disease (Reid, 2015).
The governments also fail to create enough awareness and publicity of the disease. According to Reid, this neglect creates higher rates of stigma. Unlike Cancer or HIV/AIDs, Alzheimer’s does not receive publicity and discussions. Partly is because no patient survives the disease to tell their story and promote research and treatment.
Because the Alzheimer’s disease takes a long time to progress before its effects are dire, a patient may take years, sometimes decades suffering. Without cure, this condition demands that the family members revert their efforts to special care. This special care costs a fortune as the disease lingers in its progress as the foreign protein spread in the brain. According to a study conducted by Caring.com, American families affected by Alzheimer’s collectively spend at least $70 billion in health care of victims annually. It translates to an average of $20,000 annually per family.
The government spends most of the cost of paying health insurance for the patients than on other deadly diseases such as cancer. Since there is no proven cure, Egg notes that the situation might persist for many years to come. Currently, the government spends at least $150 billion every year.
The Alzheimer’s disease is deadly as it denies the patient the ability to remember fond memories. The memories are often treasures that people use as motivation and acquiring happiness and self-drive. With its advancement, the patients finally lose their independence and living relying continuously on daily help to manage simple basic duties (Andersen and Taylor, 2008). Without the ability to manage daily tasks, victims of Alzheimer’s become useless and a burden to their families.
Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2008). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning
Horstman, J. (2012). The Scientific American healthy aging brain: The neuroscience of making the most of your mature mind. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Reid. T.R. (2015). Falling Behind on Alzheimer’s Research.
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