Friday, 6 February 2015

Alzheimer’s Disease in India: Awareness

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is an illness in which the mental ability of persons gradually declines and brain stops to function in a normal way; is the most common type of dementia. It adversely affects memory, thought process, and behavioral mannerism. It is generally seen in elderly people. It’s more harmful for people over 55.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease usually develops slowly, and gradually worsen over time. It starts with minor forgetfulness and transmutes into a serious mental disorder. At an advanced stage of AD, it becomes difficult for the person to lead a normal life. Patients can’t even identify the people close to them. They lose both visual and verbal memories. They forget recent conversations, names of recent acquaintances, misplace objects, and lose way in familiar surroundings. The progression rate of this disease is different for everyone. However, people with Alzheimer’s live for around eight years after symptoms begin.  

Short-term memory loss is very common symptom of the people suffering from AD. 

Currently, there are no cures for Alzheimer’s Disease. Many countries have day care centers for such patients. But in India, the family is the care-giver. 

Globally, one out of 10 persons who are above 80 years and one out of four persons who are above 90 years suffer from Alzheimer’s. In India, we have nearly 50 lakh dementia patients, of which around 70 to 80 % have Alzheimer’s.

Associate professor, Department of Neurology, NIMS, Dr. K. Rukmini Mridula says, “AD occurs due to abnormal and toxic protein accumulation in neurons. We lose the capacity to remove toxic proteins with age and that’s why such ailments manifest in older age”. AD is the most common neuro-degenerative disease.

Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD):
  • Problem in completing tasks that were once easy to do
  • Complexity in planning and difficulty in solving problems
  • Frequent mood swings or changes in personality
  • Problems with communication
  • Confusion about places, people, and events
  • Trouble in understanding images
  • Schizophonic thoughts

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