Posted On Dec 23, 2019
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India’s ever-growing elderly population are staring at a crisis. More than 1.5 million of them are suffering from neurological disorders i.e Alzheimer’s disease. An Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative ailment of the brain which affects the memory, behaviour and thinking. The magnitude of the crisis is amplified due to the fact that till date, no definite cure or a remedy to prevent the occurrence of this disease has been found, although some medications have been observed to slow down its progress temporarily. Therefore, an early and effective diagnosis is the best solution we have at present to stave off this debilitating disease.
September marks the World Alzheimer’s Month, and September 21 is the World Alzheimer’s Day. The theme for the year 2017 is ‘Remember Me’. On this occasion, let us know all we need to about Alzheimer’s, for a greater awareness can help us combat the disease effectively.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a condition of the mind where a person exhibits varying degrees of memory loss and other cognitive disabilities which affects his/her daily routine.
Although most people conflate Alzheimer’s with a mere loss of memory, it has far more wide-ranging effects including behavioural changes, confusion, disorientation, delusions, hallucinations, difficulties in communication and judging speeds and distances, etc.
Though it usually occurs in the old age, it is not a part of the normal ageing process, as in some cases Alzheimer’s symptoms can start appearing at the young age of 30.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease where the symptoms of dementia gradually worsen over time. The presence of Alzheimer’s i.e a neurological disorder further complicates the management of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments etc.
It is a global health issue, affecting millions of people worldwide.
The silver lining is that people affected by dementia can still lead an active lifestyle by developing support mechanisms in order to cope with the condition. This includes socialising, taking up a hobby etc.
In general, women are more likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s than men.
Now that we have acquainted ourselves with the basic facts about this ailment, let us have a look at some of the warning signs and Alzheimer’s symptoms.
The factors that are shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s are:
There are mainly two strategies which are followed in the treatment or management of Alzheimer’s:
|Alzheimer’s occurs only in older people||While it is true that most incidences occur in people above the age of 65, it can strike younger people their 40s and 50s too. This is called early-onset Alzheimer’s. The danger is that such cases often go unreported and undetected for a long time. But, it is possible to differentiate between these symptoms and the general signs of ageing.|
|Having an active lifestyle can prevent Alzheimer’s disease||Exercise, healthy diet and mental activities do lower the risk of getting Alzheimer’s, but there is no scientific evidence to establish a clear link between the two. In other words, a healthy lifestyle and lesser risk of getting Alzheimer’s may be correlated to each other, but it is not clear if a lifestyle is driving that link (causation)|
|Alzheimer’s is not fatal||On the contrary, it is one of the common causes of death. It can cause death due to lung infections or lack of nutrition.|
|Alzheimer’s symptoms are a normal part of ageing||Some memory loss may be a normal part of ageing, but symptoms such as disorientation or frequent forgetfulness are not.|
|Dementia and Alzheimer’s are one and the same||Dementia is an overall term used to describe memory loss due to changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.|
|Early detection of Alzheimer’s is not possible.||Actually, most fatalities due to Alzheimer’s occur because they weren’t diagnosed and detected in the early stages. And, as with any other disease, if left unchecked, the condition can worsen and lead to several other complications and maybe even death.|
|Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic||The APOE-e4 gene which has been identified as having the strongest impact is just one of the several genes linked to Alzheimer’s. Genetics is not the only cause of this disease.|
|Alzheimer’s is caused by aluminium, silver fillings etc.||There is no scientific evidence to back the claim that cooking in aluminium pans or drinking from aluminium cans causes Alzheimer’s.|