Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Dementia, Brain, Medicine, Psychology, Health, Disease, Impairment, Disability

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/26

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Alzheimer disease (AD) is one form of dementia; other types include dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. AD has no known cure or treatment that can stop or even reverse the diseases’ progression. AD is characterized by alterations in multiple brain functions including thinking, comprehension, memory, learning capacity, orientation, and judgment. Risk factors for AD are family history, APOE gene, age, mild cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease risk factors, social and cognitive engagements, education and traumatic brain injury.
The prevalence of Ad has increased in recent years. In 2014, it was estimated that 5.2 million Americans had AD. The statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association show that this figure constituted of 5 million people who were above 65 years of age, while the remaining 200,000 constituted of individuals below age 65. According to the association’s assessment, about 32% or one-third of the public from age 85 and above had AD. One out of nine people from age 65 and above or 11 % had AD. In addition, 82% constituting of the vast majority of those with the syndrome are people of age 75 or older (Alzheimer’s Association 2014).
The prevalence of Alzheimer's syndrome is higher in women than in men. The AD statistics are similar to all other forms of dementias that show a higher incidence of the same in females than in males. In the year 2014, an estimated two-thirds of the American public with AD was women. The 5 million people above the age of 65 with AD constituted of 3.2 million women, and only 1.8 were men. The estimates also show that of those who are 71 years and older, 16% of females have different forms of dementias compared to about 11% of men.
Normal cognitive changes are an inevitable part of the aging process yet they are different from early indicators of cognitive impairment. Age-related memory loss is associated with age deterioration of the hippocampus, decreased efficiency in absorption of brain-enhancing nutrients and decreased blood flow to the brain. Cognitive impairment is as a result of sickness.
The typical symptoms and signs of dementia are different from those identified in normal age-related forgetfulness. Individuals with dementia often suffer from impaired judgment, disorientation to place and time, balance, gait and motor problems, loss of communication skills and faulty reasoning. They may also experience hallucinations, agitation, improper behavior, memory loss and difficult with abstract thinking. Normal age-related forgetfulness is characterized by slower recall and struggle to remember things they have just read or retrieving information that they have always known. Decreased attention and concentration which is indicated by increased distractedness. Slower problem-solving and thinking indicated by increased reaction time and decreased short-term memory.
Typical aging people may complain about memory loss but can provide details and examples of it while dementia patients only complain when asked and are unable to recall specific instances. Typical aging people occasionally search for words, but dementia patients have frequent word substitutions and word-filling pauses. Typical aging people may pause to remember directions but do not get lost on the other hand dementia patients get lost in familiar places. Typical aging persons remember recent critical events, and their conversations are not impaired while dementia patients have notable decline in memory for recent incidents. They also have difficulties conversing. The interpersonal social skills of persons experiencing normal aging are maintained at the same level, but dementia patients lose interest in social activities and are prone to behaving in socially inappropriate ways.
Other types of diseases that lead to cognitive impairment in older adults include Vascular dementia which was previously known as post-stroke dementia. The condition commonly exists together with AD in infected individuals. The initial symptoms of vascular dementia include impaired judgment and inability to plan, unlike Ad whose initial symptom, is memory loss. The primary cause of vascular dementia is blockage of blood vessels. Another disease Frontotemporal lobar degeneration which is responsible for various conditions including primary progressive aphasia, pick’s disease, corticohasal degeneration, and behavioral-variant. The initial symptoms are mainly behavior and personality changes and difficult in comprehending language.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is another disease that can cause cognitive impairment. The symptoms of the condition include memory loss, difficulty walking and inability to control urination. The disease is caused by a build-up of fluid in the brain resulting from impaired reabsorption of cerebrospinal fluid. Parkinson’s disease can also cause cognitive impairment. It is characterized by movement problems such as tremor, rigidity, slowness and changes gait. Although very rare, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease is rapidly fatal. The disease impairs the memory, causes behavior change and impairs coordination. The disease is caused by prion which causes other proteins in the brain to fold improperly and consequently they malfunction.
Another condition that can cause cognitive impairment is dementia with Lewy bodies. The disease has similar symptoms as Alzheimer’s but can be differentiated in that the patients show sleep disturbances, slowness, well-formed visual hallucinations, and gait imbalance. The disease is caused by the accumulation of Lewy bodies in neurons especially in the cortex.
I would advise the friend who is concerned about the father becoming cognitively impaired first to observe him for signs and symptoms related to the same. I would inform them that there is a difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and cognitive impairment which is not clear to most people. I would explain to them that just because the father may be showing symptoms like slower recall, decreased attention and concentration do not mean he has dementia. I would explain that slower thinking and problem-solving are inevitable changes that result from aging.
I would advise the friend to study about cognitive impairment. The additional information will be significant in making observations about the changes that the father might be showing. The information will shed light on the situation and aid in consequent decision-making. I would advise the friend to compare the symptoms the father is showing with those of patients with cognitive impairment. The comparison will either put the fears to rest or warrant seeking medical attention for the father.
I would advise the friend to have the father assessed by a physician to before reaching the conclusion that they have cognitive impairment despite what the signs and symptoms show. The physician’s assessment is based on family and medical history as well as psychiatric history, cognitive and behavioral changes. The physician will conduct cognitive tests on the friend’s father as well as neurologic and physical examinations. Based on the information I have learned, I would advise the friend to find out which disease might be causing the cognitive impairment because there are several that might have that effect. I would encourage the friend to take all necessary tests required by the physician including MRI for proper diagnosis.

Work Cited

Alzheimer’s Association. (2014). 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease: Facts and Figures. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org

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WePapers. (2020, December, 26) Good Research Paper On Gerontology. Retrieved December 07, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-research-paper-on-gerontology/
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Good Research Paper On Gerontology. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-research-paper-on-gerontology/. Published Dec 26, 2020. Accessed December 07, 2021.
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