Stripling

It is a thief and a destroyer.  It can steal your mind away and destroy your life. Its name is Alzheimer’s and you want to avoid it at all costs.  But wait, you can’t run and you can’t hide from it.  It is no respecter of persons.  It randomly goes after whomever it pleases.  It mostly preys on older folks, but it can reach out and snatch younger ones, also.  No one has immunity from its clutches, because there is no inoculation or curative medicine for it.

The origin of the term Alzheimer’s dates all the way back to 1906, when Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German physician, presented a case history before a medical meeting about a 51 year-old woman who suffered from a rare brain disorder.  A brain autopsy identified the plaques and tangles that characterize the disease.  He put a name to this brain disorder, although I would call it a dubious honor to have his name attached to it. 

It was good he identified it, however, since before that they just said someone was crazy or senile if they had the symptoms.  But Alzheimer’s is not the only brain attacker out there.  I looked up types of dementia and could not believe how many there are.  Google it sometime.  You will be amazed.  As I went down the list, time after time, the same words appeared, “No cure has currently been found.”  Existing medications can only help manage some symptoms and slow down progression of the disease. 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and affects about 60% of all those diagnosed with dementia.  My mother fell in that category at about age 72.  She battled that disease for eleven years; years of a gradual slide into oblivion. The evil clutches of that thief stole the sweet, dear mother I knew and left an empty shell in her place.  

This gang of destroyers attacks one’s cognitive ability by causing changes in the brain. They take away a person’s ability to function independently or perform daily tasks. The cause has not yet been determined.   It is estimated that there are close to 50 million people worldwide with some type of dementia.  This number is expected to increase to around 80 million by 2040 if a cure is not found.

There are people and organizations battling this evil contingent.  They are fighting the battle, but have not won the war-yet. Our own Pilot Club in Baytown is having their walk for Alzheimer’s this Saturday, October 12.  Join them if you can.  If not, it is easy to go online and make a donation.  Look up Baytown Pilot Club, “2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  I have made my donation. Take up your sword and do your part to end this despicable disease.  

 

A former longtime Baytown resident, Ginger Stripling now lives in Mont Belvieu. Contact her at viewpoints@baytownsun.com,

Attention: Ginger Stripling.   

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