Alzheimer’s DISEASE Destroys YOU & YOURS Cancer & Heart Attacks Are Different!
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins – Greg_L-W.
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many of you reading this web site/blog will have or will have had cancer or a heart attack – so you have had your nose pressed pretty hard against life’s exit door. You are also probably past those years of life where you feel immortal, and are now all too well aware that life is moving on!
You will by now, probably realise, that life is all too like a roll of toilet paper, when you don’t have a spare in the cupboard, the nearer the end you come the faster it seems to run out!
Cancer has been described, by some, as one of the best ways to die, as you continue to function relatively normally until either you recover (or remission) or you you are relatively near the end – The massively impaired tend, as a general rule, to suffer the indignities and or pain for a relatively short period.
Heart Attacks and strokes however can be far more unkind and threatening, leaving the patient chronically damaged in some cases – a stroke left a friend’s Father incontinent, without comprehensible communication skills, visibly angry and wheelchair bound for almost 10 years – many would believe a fate worse than death. Fortunately most outcomes of both strokes and heart attacks are not so cruel.
Having so far survived various bouts of cancer of various types and also a relatively serious heart attack I don’t believe I am alone in fearing Altzheimer’s or dementia. Chemo brain is irritating enough, where some of us who have had Chemo experience momentary lapses ion specific areas of memory – mine seem fortunately to be confined to names of people, places and events and only to last a few seconds.
Just imagine the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia where all too often one is aware that one is loosing one’s mind and will lose one’s independence, reason and personality – a fate that can not as yet be controlled.
What a horror and it is good to see some progress is being made in coping with the disease, all be it taking place at a glacial rate and I regret too slowly for me at my age! All I can do is hope that I will be spared the disease as in Britain today we still have the evil belief that it is kind to put an animal out of its suffering but that we should torture human beings by doing far too much to keep them alive.
If I find myself faced with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or a chronic stroke since my fellow countrymen have opted to permit torture of the chronically impaired, & EUthenasia is denied us, that I have sufficient ability left to take my own life.
The Three Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease might come after a person develops a habit of losing the house keys or getting lost. But changes in the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential to forming memories, begin years before any symptoms appear. Once they emerge, the incurable disease advances through three stages.
Each person may progress through Alzheimer’s stages at different speeds or experience symptoms in different ways. By understanding its typical course, you can be prepared for the road ahead and focus on living well with the disease.
Early Stage: Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
People are often diagnosed at this stage, as memory loss and other thinking problems become apparent. The person may notice his or her own memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar words. Or family and friends may notice changes, such as trouble handling money or paying bills.
Common difficulties in this stage include:
- Forgetting material that one has just read
- Forgetting common words or names
- Losing or misplacing valuable objects
- Repeating questions
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Trouble planning or organizing
- Wandering and getting lost
Middle Stage: Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
In this stage, damage occurs in areas of the brain controlling language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. This stage can last for many years while a person gradually loses abilities that allow him or her to live independently.
During this stage, other people may begin to notice symptoms. They may include:
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping during the day and becoming restless at night
- Confusion about where they are or what day it is
- Forgetting past events or personal history
- Forgetting personal details, such as home address or telephone number
- Increased risk of wandering and getting lost
- Moodiness or withdrawal, especially in social or mentally challenging situations
- Needing help choosing appropriate clothing for the season or occasion
- Not recognizing family and friends
- Personality and behavior changes, such as paranoia and delusions, impulsive behavior, or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing
Late Stage: Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
Basic abilities diminish in the final stage. A person can no longer carry on a conversation or respond to his or her environment. He or she will gradually lose the ability to walk.
Special concerns for a person with late stage Alzheimer’s include:
- Inability to communicate pain
- Difficulty eating and drinking
- Increasing personality changes
- Vulnerability to infections, especially pneumonia
A person will likely need around-the-clock help to address extensive care needs. But loved ones can provide care by spending time with a person in the last stage of the disease.
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers are looking for ways to find Alzheimer’s in its earliest stage, before symptoms appear. Studies suggest early detection through brain scans or blood and spinal fluid tests may be possible, but more research is needed before these tests become common practice.
Until there is a single diagnostic test, doctors use a combination of methods and tools to determine if a person has “possible” or “probable” Alzheimer’s dementia. A “possible” diagnosis is given if there may be another cause for the dementia. If no other cause can be found, the diagnosis is “probable” Alzheimer’s dementia.
To make a diagnosis, doctors may:
- Ask for a medical history, including past medical problems, changes in health or abilities, and medical conditions affecting other family members, especially Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Carry out a physical exam with standard diagnostic tests, such as taking blood and urine samples
- Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language
- Perform brain scans, such as CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or PET (positron emission tomography)
In some cases, a brain autopsy after death can be performed to provide a positive diagnosis.
When to Have a Dialogue With Your Doctor
If you or a loved one are concerned about Alzheimer’s, talk with your doctor. Symptoms of dementia are linked to many other conditions besides Alzheimer’s, including anemia, diabetes, and heart and lung problems. Sharing key details with your doctor can help him or her determine the cause and best course of treatment.
If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s, your doctor will do more than offer treatment. He or she can be a valuable resource for answering questions and finding support services for you.
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