Prince Charles and Alzheimer's Disease
Reports say that Prince Charles, the 62 year old heir to the British throne, has Alzheimer's Disease and that he is suffering from memory loss and other symptoms. If true, then this is incredibly sad, as is every case of Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's Disease is characterised by memory loss, confusion and mood swings.
Years ago, it was called senile dementia and generally affects those aged over 65.
Pre-senile dementia was the label given to those under 65.
It is caused by a breakdown in the blood supply vessels in the brain.
People with Alzheimer's Disease have difficulty acquiring new memories - their brains do not seem to retain new events nor register them in their memory banks - as well as forgetting earlier memories.
There is no cure, and once diagnosed, people suffering from Alzheimer's rarely live longer than 7 years.
Possibly every single one of us will have a family member or someone we know suffer from Alzheimer's Disease. For some families, Alzheimer's can be catastrophic. There have been cases where grandma or grandpa needed 24 hours care, because they would become so confused they would try to mow the lawn with a vacuum cleaner in the middle of the night, or light a fire on the bedroom floor, believing it to be a campfire outside.
Advanced Alzheimer's Disease, especially in a still physically active person, is devastating as in their confusion they do things they have no memory of.
My own uncle suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. One night he got in his car and drove 400 miles until he ran out of fuel. He got out of his car to look for help and was found by police wandering around with no idea where he was nor what he was doing there.
If Prince Charles has indeed developed Alzheimer's Disease, my heart goes out to his wife and family.
Alhzheimer's disease is devastating to all those concerned.
When Alzheimer's is diagnosed, and doctors usually carry out a series of cognitive tests as well as a brain scan to make a diagnosis, life can become extremely difficult for the families of sufferers.
People with advanced Alzheimer's need 24 hour care, to keep them in a safe situation and out of trouble, but families need to sleep too. Often it is at night that the Alzheimer's patient does things out of character like those cases mentioned above.
If it is impossible for a family member to do a night shift, perhaps through work commitments or whatever, to make sure the Alzheimer's victim stays safe, then it might be time to look for 24 hour care in an institution for the sufferer.
While this is incredibly sad for all concerned and especially for the victim who may well still have moments of normality and a complete understanding of the situation, it is usually the solution, if a bed can be found.
Respite care is available in some areas, where the Alzheimer's patient goes into residencial care for perhaps a weekend, or for a week or two, to give the family a break from their 24 hour strain.
Alzheimer's disease is progressive and ultimately fatal as the victims gradually loses all control of their bodily functions before death ensues.
German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer first described the signs and symptoms of this type of dementia in 1906 and so the disease is named after him.
Prince Charles, elder son of Queen Elizabeth II and father of Prince William, who is due to marry his fiancée Kate Middleton in April of this year (2011), is reportedly suffering from "devastating" memory loss, according to his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles.
If true, Prince Charles, next in line to the throne of Great Britain, is certain never to become king.
The story was first published in America's Globe Magazine and is now being carried by television reports around the world.
Buckingham Palace has been silent on this issue, as has the British Press.
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