World Alzheimer’s Day 2020: Common in elders, still Alzheimer’s is not a part of ageing, say experts

WHO confirms that there are around 50 million people suffering from dementia and also there are around 10 million new cases every year, says Dr Rajul Aggrawal

Forgetting things and finding it hard to recall incidents are often considered to be normal owing to one’s busy schedule. But these can be early symptoms of Alzheimer’s, a common type of dementia which leads to gradual memory loss and thinking ability, says Dr Rajul Aggrawal, senior consultant, neurologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi. WHO confirms that there are around 50 million people suffering from dementia, and that there are around 10 million new cases every year. On World Alzheimer’s Day, annually observed on September 21, aims to raise awareness about the condition, Dr Aggrawal shares the common symptoms and risk factors.

Signs and symptoms:

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder responsible for the loss of brain cells and neural circuits leading to cognitive decline. It reflects symptoms like
*Finding it difficult to recall events and occasions
*Affects one’s ability to think properly
*Trouble in decision-making
*Misplacing things more often
*Trouble to find the right words to convey one’s thought
*Constant forgetfulness
*Slurring while talking and problem in speech

Never ignore any of the above symptoms and consult a doctor in order to avoid risks. Early diagnosis and treatment is key.

Who’s at risk?

It is true that Alzheimer’s is mostly found in the age group of 50 to 60 years, but it is not a part of ageing. Dr Amit Srivastav, senior consultant, Neurology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital explains why early diagnosis is paramount. “At the pathological level, there is an accumulation of abnormal proteins around the brain cells, which leads to its destruction. The exact mechanism is not elucidated till now, but multiple factors like genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors seem to be at play. There is no permanent cure for this disease, the prescribed medicines, and therapies by concerned doctors can delay the onset and improve the quality of life of treated patients. Hence, especially when there is no permanent treatment available, only early diagnosis is the key.

How to prevent it?

There are some lifestyle-related habits that may not be directly responsible for Alzheimer’s but can surely aggravate the problems related to the condition. Avoid smoking and excess consumption of alcohol; take the required amount of sleep, consume antioxidants, fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily meals, and walk for at least 30 minutes daily. Never ignore stress, depression, and other mental health-related issues. Keep a positive approach to life and follow a healthy lifestyle. Keep your blood pressure, diabetes under control, and engage with society and try to keep your brain as active as possible.

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