world alzheimers day 2020: Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that impairs memory and other mental functions. It is the most common form of dementia that generalizes memory loss and loss of other essential cognitive abilities that are serious enough to interfere with an individual’s daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells.
From previous studies, an average of 2 out of 3 people globally has little or no understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementia in their countries.
Since its inception, the impact of World Alzheimer’s Month is increasing. However, the stigmatisation and lack of information surrounding dementia remains to be a global problem that calls for global action. Most people often think that this disease is a normal part of ageing.
Greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing age. This is evident by majority of Alzheimer’s patients being 65 years or older.
- Memory loss: Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease
People with Alzheimer’s may:
- Repeat statements and questions over and over
- Forget conversations, appointments or events, and not remember them later
- Routinely misplace possessions, often putting them in illogical locations
- Get lost in familiar places
- Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects
- Have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations
1) Thinking and reasoning: Alzheimer’s disease causes difficulty concentrating and thinking, especially about abstract concepts such as numbers. Multitasking is especially difficult, and it may be challenging to manage finances, balance check books and pay bills on time. These difficulties may progress to an inability to recognize and deal with numbers.
2) Making judgments and decisions: The ability to make reasonable decisions and judgments in everyday situations will decline.
3) Planning and performing familiar tasks: Once-routine activities that require sequential steps, such as planning and cooking a meal or playing a favourite game, become a struggle as the disease progresses.
4) Changes in personality and behaviour: Brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease can affect moods and behaviours. Problems may include the following:
- Social withdrawal
- Mood swings
- Distrust in others
- Irritability and aggressiveness
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Loss of inhibitions
- Delusions, such as believing something has been stolen
5) Preserved skills: Many important skills are preserved for longer periods even while symptoms worsen. Preserved skills may include reading or listening to books, telling stories and reminiscing, singing, listening to music, dancing, drawing, or doing crafts. These skills may be preserved longer because they are controlled by parts of the brain affected later in the course of the disease.
What Are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Stage 1: No Impairment. During this stage, Alzheimer’s is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.
- Stage 2: Very Mild Decline. …
- Stage 3: Mild Decline. …
- Stage 4: Moderate Decline. …
- Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline. …
- Stage 6: Severe Decline. …
- Stages 7: Very Severe Decline.
How to reduce your risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death for all adults, and the fifth leading cause of death for adults over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease, which affects the parts of the brain that control thought, language and memory can significantly impair a person’s ability to accomplish daily activities.
Observational studies suggest the diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent as well as slow cognitive decline and improve verbal memory. A plant-based diet has been linked to dementia prevention. Experts encourage eating leafy green vegetables, berries, whole grains, beans, nuts and olive oil. Foods that are anti-inflammatory and have antioxidant properties can protect against disease and keep the brain healthy. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Consume whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Decrease your intake of fats, red meats, sweets, sugared beverages and sodium.
A good exercise strategy is a combination of cardio exercise and strength training. Activities for beginners can include walking, yoga or swimming. Balance exercises are also key to keeping a healthy brain. Head traumas from falling or losing your balance can contribute to your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Depression, social isolation
Numerous studies have shown that social isolation can increase cognitive decline and the risk of dementia. Feeling or being alone can make you more vulnerable to deteriorating health and increase the risks of late-life dementia.So avoid social isolation.
Cigarette smoking can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Smoking also increases the risk of heart problems, which could lead to a stroke or small bleed in the brain — another risk factor for dementia.
Research suggests that getting a good night’s sleep could make a significant impact on the mental effects of getting older. Sleep can benefit the mind and have long-term influence on a person’s risk for cognitive decline as they age. Adopting good sleep habits can help protect the brain’s health.
Author: Dietitian Parvinder Raghbir Bamrah
(P.G Diploma in Dietetitics, Cert. Diabetes Educator, Cert. Nutrigenomic Counselor)