Memory is part of what makes us human, but what if the brain begins to lose its ability to retain memories?
According to the CDC, an estimated 5.8 million individuals in the U.S. alone were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2020.
In the same year, the Alzheimer’s Association estimated that the cost of long-term care for patients suffering from the disease and other cognitive diseases is over $300 billion.
Residents Medical Group, the country’s leading organization in matching graduates with medical residency programs, recognizes the threat that Alzheimer’s Disease wields to many people worldwide.
This month, Residents Medical Group, under Dr. Michael Everest’s leadership, focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease as a disease that requires immediate and serious attention.
Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the types of diseases under an umbrella term called dementia. Dementia refers to impaired cognitive abilities, such as thinking, making decisions, and remembering, which affects one’s day-to-day life.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type that affects older individuals primarily. However, it is not considered a part or result of normal aging.
Alzheimer’s Disease is progressive, which means it will worsen over time. It usually begins with mild problems with remembering in an afflicted individual and will gradually progress to a severe loss of memory, the inability to hold a conversation, or make new memories.
Alzheimer’s Disease affects certain brain parts that process memory, language, and thought. As the disease progresses, it will become increasingly difficult to perform everyday activities, such as driving, shopping, making calls, writing, having conversations, eating, even grooming, and performing basic hygiene.
Who is Affected?
Alzheimer’s Disease is associated with age because it is more common among the elderly, particularly people aged 65 and older. The Alzheimer’s Association experts estimate that 1 out of 9 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s.
In people over 80 years old, it is 1 out of 6. Although the risk of developing this disease increases as one ages, it can also afflict younger people, although this is uncommon.
Alzheimer’s Disease was named after the doctor who first observed it – Alois Alzheimer. He presented his findings in 1906 to a group of psychiatrists in Germany.
In this meeting, he described the symptoms he observed in a 50-year-old woman who demonstrated paranoia, difficulty sleeping, memory issues, confusion, and aggression. The woman died within five years after the symptoms appeared.
This time period seems to be pretty standard among patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. What is known now is that it can kill – or at least, its effects can. In a person with Alzheimer’s, nerve connections in the brain are gradually destroyed, making it difficult to perform simple tasks.
Everyday actions taken for granted, such as standing up, walking, feeding oneself, and swallowing, become increasingly difficult.
The complications that follow these issues are what will lead to fatal results. For example, the cause of death for most Alzheimer’s patients is aspiration pneumonia.
This is caused when water or food passes through the windpipe and not the esophagus, damaging the lungs and causing an infection that develops into severe pneumonia.
Other complications make Alzheimer’s Disease deadly. For example, patients who can no longer move will likely be bedridden and develop bedsores.
They could also suffer injuries if they fall or develop sepsis infections from urinary tract infection that was not diagnosed. Patients who find it difficult to feed themselves may also suffer from dehydration and malnutrition.
Alzheimer’s Disease does more than cause devastating effects on the person who has it. It can also affect those closest to the patient, such as family members and friends.
Spouses, children, siblings, and friends often go through a long heartbreak watching a beloved family member gradually lose themselves.
As of yet, Alzheimer’s Disease is considered incurable. Even if it is diagnosed early, it may respond to specific therapies and medications, but these will likely only treat associated symptoms and delay the onset of the disease but will not cure it.
Certain medications may be prescribed, but these will only help patients continue functioning normally.
Residents Medical Group, by providing the proper support to help doctors obtain the best training for their expertise, hopes that future medical professionals will be better equipped to take on devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Residents Medical Group believes the future holds the right solution to beat Alzheimer’s Disease and other diseases.
Residents Medical is leading the way in supporting medical research, which it believes will open doors to the right solutions, approaches, and treatments.
Dr. Michael Everest says that Alzheimer’s Disease may be incurable now, and the best they can do is to alleviate its symptoms to prolong the patient’s independence, but ultimately, Alzheimer’s wins.
Residents Medical Group’s hope and goal is that by supporting their doctors and medical experts and promoting medical research, they will finally find the key to show them the Achilles heel of Alzheimer’s Disease.
According to Dr. Michael Everest, there is a host of diseases that were incurable in the past, naming Hepatitis A and B, influenza, tuberculosis, measles, and rubella as some of the deadliest.
But thanks to medical research and technological advancement, our understanding of these diseases has improved significantly, so much so that treatments that have proven effective in curing and preventing them are now available.
Medical research and the tireless efforts of medical professionals are why general health and well-being are much improved today. It is the hope and goal of Residents Medical Group that by supporting medical research and giving doctors a means to explore new solutions, new treatments that can effect a cure will be developed.
Residents Medical Group is one of the nation’s leading organizations focused on helping medical graduates find matching residency programs.
Founded by Dr. Michael Everest following his father’s (Dr. Edwin A.D. Everest) passing in 2008, Residents Medical has contributed to improving healthcare and helping develop highly skilled doctors and medical professionals around the globe.