November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. During this month, we recognize the patients and caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients by pledging to continue and improve research into preventing this horribly devastating disease.
Alzheimer's is a type of progressive dementia that impacts memory and behavior. It is caused by physiological changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s patients have more plaques and tangles in their brains than other older people. Plaques are protein deposits in the spaces between nerve cells and tangles are twisted protein fibers of that build up inside cells. These eventually destroy the memory centers of the brain. Researchers do not know why plaques and tangles grow differently in Alzheimer’s patients, nor do they know how to stop them or slow them down.
There are many terrible diseases, and I do not speak from my own experience, but Alzheimer’s disease is cruel, not only for the victim, but also for their family. It robs the patient of their memory, at first just the short term memory, but then longer and longer pieces of time are forgotten, making activities that used to be simple into impossibilities. The majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older, and Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. (Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp)
This month, my charity of choice is the Alzheimer’s Association.
photo credit: The photo comparing a healthy brain to that of an Alzheimer's patient is of the public domain and its source is http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/fall10/articles/fall10pg20-21.html.