DEFINITION OF DEGENERATIVE
Degenerative is an adjective that applies to everything that causes degeneration. To understand the concept, therefore, it is necessary to be clear about what degeneration is.
This term is used in medicine and biology to name the wear or breakdown of the structure and/or functions of cells. From a process of degeneration, the person begins to lose their normal development due to the consequences of a disease.
It is known as a degenerative disorder, therefore, the disease that damages an organ or tissue and whose effects worsen over time. In these diseases, the body’s ability to regenerate is affected and the person is involved in a spiral where their health worsens more and more.
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Alzheimer ‘s disease is an example of a degenerative disease, since it causes the death of neurons and the atrophy of various brain regions, causing the patient to progressively lose their memory and mental faculties. So far, there is no cure for this degenerative disease.
Another example of a degenerative disorder is Parkinson’s disease, which also affects neurons and causes tremors, muscle stiffness and other consequences.
Various studies have shown that these two conditions ( Alzheimer ‘s and Parkinson ‘s diseases ) are the most common neurodegenerative diseases, since they are suffered by millions of people around the world.
It can be said, definitively, that degenerative atrophies are those that imply the cellular destruction of a certain tissue, in a process of progressive advance.
Evolution of Alzheimer’s disease
Although Alzheimer’s disease causes a progressive deterioration of intellectual functions, the evolution varies greatly from one case to another, and can last as little as a few months or as long as fifteen years, for example. In general, the average life of a patient with this degenerative disorder is eight years.
It is possible to determine three evolutionary stages, each one with a series of characteristic changes, although they are not fulfilled to the letter for all the affected people:
It lasts approximately two to four years and presents the following symptoms :
* memory problems;
* learning difficulties;
* moderate loss of remote memory, that is, of memories that were stored in the distant past;
* difficulty in orienting oneself in space and in recognizing the environment;
* apathy, depression, lack of initiative and mood swings.
It lasts between two and ten years and presents major brain alterations, such as the following:
* difficulty speaking (aphasia);
* problems performing functions as simple as dressing and using cutlery to eat;
* partial loss of the ability to recognize environments and individuals, especially if they are not very close;
* neglect of personal hygiene;
* abnormal posture, muscle weakness, similar to some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease;
* appearance of illusions and hallucinations, among other psychotic signs;
* increasing dependence on another person for security;
* boredom and loss of interest in activities that were once fun or engaging;
This is the most terrifying picture of this degenerative disorder, and is characterized by greater stiffness in the muscles, which leads to resistance to changing posture, tremors and even the possibility of epileptic seizures. Apathy grows and the abilities to wash, dress, eat and walk are lost.
Other common symptoms, before dying from systemic infection, pneumonia or another similar disease, are the loss of response to pain and fecal and urinary incontinence.