World Alzheimer's Day 2017: 'Remember Me'

World Alzheimer’s Day 2017: ‘Remember Me’

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Highlights:

  • World Alzheimer's Day is celebrated on 21st September every year to raise awareness of this neurodegenerative disease
  • The day also aims to reduce the stigmata and misinformation that surrounds the disease
  • Alzheimer's disease affects nearly 46.8 million people across the world
World Alzheimer's Day is an annual event observed on 21st September to raise awareness about Alzheimer's and dementia. The theme for this year's World Alzheimer's Disease is 'Remember Me' which highlights the importance of early detection and diagnosis of dementia. Globally two out of three people have little or no understanding of Alzheimer's in their countries. The stigmatization and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a problem and requires global action.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease was first identified by German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer in 1906. It is a neurodegenerative disease, wherein the proteins build-up, and form plaques and tangles. The formation of plaques leads to loss of connections between nerve cells, resulting in the death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue. Studies have shown that in people with Alzheimer's, there is a shortage of chemicals that help to transmit signals around the brain. As Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease, it affects more parts of the brain, and the symptoms become more severe with time.
World Alzheimer’s Day 2017: ‘Remember Me’

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which impairs mental functioning. Some of the symptoms include memory loss, difficulty with thinking, problem-solving or language and loss of body functions. People with Alzheimer's often withdraw from family and society due to memory loss.

One of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is difficulty in remembering the recent events. People with Alzheimer's often forget the name of the people, address, and other things. Alzheimer's not only affects the individual with the condition but also the family and friends as they watch their loved one losing their memory.

Nearly 70% risk for developing Alzheimer's is genetic. Head injuries, depression, and hypertension may also increase the risk. Early symptoms of Alzheimer's are often mistaken for normal aging as there is no test to detect the disease.

Facts and Statistics About Alzheimer's

  • Nearly 46.8 million people across the world have Alzheimer's disease
  • 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's
  • In the UK, it affects more than 520,000 people
  • About 1.6 million Indians have Alzheimer's, and the number is expected to triple by 2050
  • It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States
  • Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed
  • Alzheimer's affects a person every 68 seconds
  • By 2050, 16 million Americans are predicted to be living with Alzheimer's
  • In the UK, the number of people living with Alzheimer's will reach one million by 2025 and two million by 2051
  • Most of the people with Alzheimer's are over 65
  • On an average, people with Alzheimer's live about eight years after their symptoms become noticeable
  • People younger than 65 can also develop Alzheimer's

Ways to Recognize Symptoms of Alzheimer's Early

  • Inability to recognize faces and objects
  • Struggling to find the right words while conversing
  • Difficulty with reading text
  • Decline in the ability to reason, judge and solve problems
  • Decline in cognition and behavior
  • Inability to learn and recall new information

How to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's?

  1. Stay connected with family and friends - Isolation can harm the brain function and increase the risk of Alzheimer's. Thus having a social life will help you keep the diseases at bay.
  2. Exercise- Regular exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also mental health. Engaging in regular exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 50 percent.
  3. Eating Healthy - MIND diet, which is a combination of Mediterranean Diet and DASH diet that includes foods that are beneficial in preventing cognitive decline such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, berries, poultry, fish and olive oil. Studies have shown that MIND diet can help delay or prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease.
  4. Manage Stress - Chronic stress can affect the growth of nerve cells and shrink the memory area, thus increasing the risk of Alzheimer's. Meditation, yoga and breathing techniques can help relax and reduce stress.
  5. Increase Brain Activity - Activities that keep the brain attentive such as puzzles, crosswords, and scrabble improve brain function and ward off cognitive decline. Hobbies such as arts and crafts could delay the onset of dementia. People who engage in arts such as painting, sculpting, and drawing were 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

Tips to Assist Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

Patience - Caring for people with dementia can be difficult. It is important to have the patience to understand the person and respond to their feelings.

Memory boxes - Helps people with Alzheimer's recall people and events from the past.

Music - Playing their favorite music can help recall their memories

Travel - A relaxing place can help reduce anxiety

Gadgets- Smartphone and tablets can enhance the quality of life for people with dementia

With the increases in life spans, the support for Alzheimer's research is more critical than ever. Alzheimer's may affect any individual, be it a family member or a friend. Currently, there are no treatments, medications or supplements to stop the progression of Alzheimer's. Family and social support play a key role in providing care for those with Alzheimer's.

Reference:

  1. World Alzheimer's Day: September 21 - (https:www.alzinfo.org/articles/world-alzheimers-day/)
  2. World Alzheimer's Day - (https:www.nhp.gov.in/World-Alzheimers-Day_pg)

Source: Medindia

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