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Widespread Physical Conditions That Hit The Elderly

Old woman with a nurse

Elder Law Attorneys, the elderly themselves and their families, must be cognizant of and understand the ramifications of diseases that commonly affect the health of the elderly.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

Alzheimer’s Disease was discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. He was the first to publish information in medical publications in 1907.

Alzheimer’s is a fatal brain disease affecting five million Americans. It destroys brain cells. It causes progressively worse problems with memory, thinking and behavior that are serious enough to affect working. It may also affect lifelong habits, hobbies and ones social life.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that worsens over time. There is no cure. It is eventually fatal. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the most common form of dementia. Scientists do not know why the brain’s cells stop working. It is thought that two abnormalities, called plaques and tangles, are primarily responsible for effecting nerve cells.

Plaques build up between the nerve cells that contain deposits of protein called beta-amyloid. Tangles form inside dying cells. Most people develop plagues and tangles as they age. However, Alzheimer’s patients tend to develop far more plagues and tangles. Plaques and tangles tend to develop in learning and memory areas of the brain. They then spread to other regions.

Early stage Alzheimer’s disease begins with problems relating to memory, thinking and concentration. In the early stages, patients need minimal assistance with simple daily routines. at the time of diag-nosis, a person may be in the early stage or may have progressed beyond the early stage. Alzheimer’s is particularly problematic when it affects those under 65. Those with Early Onset Alzheimer’s may be working and may have children still living at home. These families face extraordinary financial issues and emotional trauma.

Congestive Heart Failure: (CHF)

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body’s organs. This may result from narrowed arteries that supply blood to the heart. This coronary artery disease, a heart attack or a myocardial infarction with scar tissue interferes with the heart’s work. High blood pressure, (hypertension), may be caused by heart valve disease due to past rheumatic fever or other causes, prim-ary disease of the heart itself, heart defects, congenital heart defects, infection of the heart valves and the heart itself.

The failing heart continues to work but not efficiently. CHF patients cannot exert themselves. They be-come short of breath. Symptoms are swelling of the legs and ankles. Sometimes, fluid collects in the lungs and this interferes with breathing, causing shortness of breath. CHF can be treated with rest, proper diet, modified daily activities and medication. Advanced CHF can cause a person to be hospitalized.

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