In the picture, there is a brain made out of sand inside an hourglass on a black background that fades down to white. The heading “Alzheimer’s Disease” in big font and all capitalized is above the smaller words “The 5th leading cause of death in adults over 65. ” This image comes from the Alzheimer’s Association and can be found on their website. Alzheimer’s disease is a very serious disease of the brain that has more than three million cases per year. I believe the image effectively gets the point across. When I look at it, the image tugs at my emotions. The thought of someone losing their memory to the point of death is very upsetting.
The horrible disease affects many older people and their entire families. The person loses all memory of everything. It is almost like the person with the disease never lived. They do not remember experiences or growing up. They cannot remember their own families and friends. Everything in their mind goes away rapidly. Their families are stuck on the sidelines not able to stop the progression of the disease. Family members have to go through life watching their loved one’s memory rapidly deteriorate over time until it ultimately causes the person’s death.
The image shows the seriousness of Alzheimer’s disease, provides a vivid example that is easy to understand, and makes people want to look into the causes and treatments for it. Alzheimer’s disease is very serious. The disease progresses through time much like sand in an hour glass. The advertisement for awareness shows the seriousness by not using bright colors and keeping all the attention on the hourglass. It starts off mild with problems remembering names and words. In the mild stage, people may lose valuable objects or have trouble remembering things they just read.
The moderate stage is the next stage. Forgetfulness of past events or confusion of where they are is in this stage. The person may not be able to remember their own address or phone number, or they may get lost easily. The severe stage is the worst stage. Once they hit this stage, the people with Alzheimer’s disease may forget how to sit, walk, or even swallow. They have problems communicating and need around-the-clock care. At this stage, most of them have live-in nurses or are transferred to a place so that they could have the care they need.
The family members have to watch their loved ones go through the entire process. The process of the stages overlap. There is a preclinical stage that only takes place in the brain and is unnoticeable by anyone. The whole onset, after the diagnoses, lasts four to eight years. Even though the average is four to eight years, it could take up to twenty years depending on the seriousness of each stage. The whole process is fast and serious. My grandfather lived through the stages and outlasted the four to eight years. He lived twelve years after he was diagnosed.
His years were long and excruciating for himself and his family. We had to watch him forget all about us. We watched the progression of the stages until he was unable to move. After he was unable to move, we had to sit and wait until he died. There was nothing we could do once the last stage took over. He forgot how to eat, sit, and even look around. He was a living statue. The whole process is linked to the hourglass in the advertisement for awareness. The awareness advertisement shows exactly how the brain is affected through symbolism. The sand, or brain, flows through the hourglass until none of it is left.
In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain loses memory until it effects the brain so much that the person with it cannot function anymore. The stages that go from mild to severe show exactly how the sand goes from a lot on top to only a little bit in the top glass section. The image relays how the stages effect the brain constantly. There is no stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. There may be treatments, but there is no cure. The progression does not stop; it flows as if it was sand in an hourglass. My grandfather started off being diagnosed in the mild stage.
His life became very difficult soon after the diagnoses. He could not even remember being diagnosed. He became violent and could not remember how to act towards another human being. He went on to the moderate stage pretty quickly. The moderate stage lasted longer and was excruciating for my grandmother. She had to watch his memory drain away. All of the memories they made, their children, and their life left his brain and she could not do anything about it. She loved him until the end, but did not want to see the progression of this terrible disease.
The image does make people want to look into what happens to the brain during Alzheimer’s disease, why it happens, and how to treat it. The causes of Alzheimer’s disease could be a number of things. Advancing in age is the greatest risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The older someone gets, the more likely they are to develop the terrible disease. Family history is a risk for it, too. If someone has a person in their family that has Alzheimer’s disease, they are more likely to get it, too. Scientists have also researched that head trauma could also be a contributing factor for the disease.
Latinos and African-Americans have a higher rate for vascular diseases, which is also linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In the 1960s and 1970s, scientists thought aluminum was a leading cause for Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists did not confirm aluminum was a cause for the disease, but do not think it is a cause for concern. Research on this has died out, and have begun in other areas such as genetics. Genetics plays a huge roll in many known diseases. The good thing about modern technology is that people can have their genetics tested. The tests would show whether or not Alzheimer’s disease is a possibility in their future.
No single test is used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists all play a part in the diagnoses of the disease. The treatments include medications for memory loss, treatments for behavioral changes, and treatments for sleep changes. None of the treatments can slow the progressive movement the disease has. All of the treatments are just ways to live with Alzheimer’s disease until it ultimately consumes their life. The image caused me to look up all of these different things. With my grandfather, I did not know any of these things.
I was too young to understand why treatments did not work. Now that I am older, I understand the dangers of the disease, and this image peaks people’s interests to look up the disease and raise awareness. The image is accurate. It shows how the brain is effected by using the metaphor of the sand in an hourglass. The emotional tug the image has is powerful. It makes people stop and think about how it controls the lives of those who have Alzheimer’s disease and those who do not. The people who have the disease lose their memory, and the people around them have to watch the ongoing process.
It is a very distraught process to witness. The person’s brain gets sicker and sicker until it can no longer work. My grandfather could not even recognize my grandmother after the disease took hold of his brain. He turned cold towards everyone, and he became a very violent person. He would hit my dad because he was afraid and did not recognize him. My grandfather eventually fell into a statue-like trance. He could no longer follow a flashlight in front of his eyes. He was unable to get up and walk, use the restroom, or feed himself. All he could do was sit there and stare at what he was facing.
It was a very unnerving thing to witness. The memories I have of him were only in my mind. He could not even remember me or my dad and brother. The memories he had were all destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. The image raises awareness so that people can understand it. It helps people know they are not alone and there is ongoing research on the disease. The advertisement shows the seriousness of Alzheimer’s disease, provides a vivid example that is easy to understand, and makes people want to look into the causes and treatments for the disease.