Dementia is an illness whose major consequences include memory loss, loss of judgment and reasoning and dampening communication abilities, behaviors and moods. Its most common form is Alzheimer’s disease. In recent times an alarming increase has been observed in the number of people particularly old ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. 1 in 10 Americans said they have a family member with the disease and 1 in 3 knows someone with the disease. A person suffering from this disease faces a progressive loss of memory. Brain cells are damaged and shrinkage in brain occurs causing memory as well as thinking to be severely impaired. With time it continues to intensify and ultimately results in death.
No cure for this disease has been found as yet and the medicines available only help in slowing down its progression and not terminating it. For people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and their care takers this delay is also a blessing as it somehow helps the sufferer lead a relatively better life for a relatively longer period of time.
Alzheimer’s disease has several stages in its progression. Initially there are evident no memory problems with someone who is suffering from the disease. Later on, mild memory lapses start becoming evident. As the disease progresses a significant disorientation in daily tasks starts reflecting from the patient. These may include hampered performance at work, not remembering where valuable things have been kept etc. In the fourth stage termed as mild Alzheimer’s, people tend to forget important events of their lives and of the surroundings in general and keep themselves distanced and quiet. The next stages involve forgetting one’s address, phone number and personal details, not remembering when one last took a shower etc. Other symptoms include hallucination, moodiness, forgetting names and meals etc. The ultimate stage of Alzheimer’s is when one forgets words and ability to speak. They lose all sensibility and forget how to swallow, chew, sit, smile and go to washroom etc. This tends to make their entire body rigid and stiff and may cause death eventually.
The average life duration in this disease is estimated to be 8 years but a person suffering from it may survive anywhere between 3 to 20 years. Although not physically torturous, this disease is a mental trauma for both the one suffering from it and their families.
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