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Alzheimer's Disease - The Loss of Remembrance

  By : , Kochi , India       21.9.2018         Phone:0484 669 9999          Mail Now
  Kuttisahib Road, Near Kothad Bridge, South Chittoor, Cheranalloor, Kochi, Kerala 682027

Dr. Mathew Abraham
Senior Consultant, Neurologist
Aster Medcity, Kochi

It was the Helen Keller who said, ‘So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.’ But what if the memory starts fading and is lost… what happens to life?

This is Alzheimer's Disease, the most common form of dementia in which there is progressive loss of cognitive function including memory, thought and reasoning. World Alzheimer’s Month is observed in September every year to raise awareness on this serious form of dementia and reduce the stigma around the condition. This year, the theme is “Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia!”

Dementia is a name for a series of syndromes of progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Today, there are more than 50 million people with dementia worldwide, and this figure is expected to treble to 152 million by 2050. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that leads to problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. It is irreversible and that over time, it affects the ability to carry out even simple tasks.

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died after an illness characterised by memory loss, language problems and weird behavior. He found many abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles) when he examined her brain. Later research has shown that a loss of connections between nerve cells in the brain. This loss of connection results in messages not being transmitted with resultant problems.

Symptoms may include loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying, difficulty in performing previously routine tasks, personality and mood changes. In the majority of cases, symptoms first appear in the mid-60s.

There are some warning signs and symptoms of which one or more signs may appear in a different degree. It is advisable to consult a physician on noticing any of them. They can get confused with time and lose track of dates. They may forget where they are or how they got there. Some people may have problems with their vision such as difficulty in reading or judging distances while driving. They may have problems with speech and fumble for words, suddenly stop while saying something or may repeat themselves. They may be unable to write. They may lose things, and if they go out of the house, may be unable to find their way back again. They start to slowly withdraw from work or social activities and show changes in mood or personality. They can become confused, depressed, suspicious or fearful.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. At the same time it is important to realise that dementia is not a normal part of ageing. Those affected with dementia have the right to live as well as possible. It is necessary to improve the diagnosis and support through increased awareness.

With early detection, patients can get the maximum benefit from available treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help with both cognitive and behavioural symptoms to maintain a level of independence for a longer period. Understanding of dementia can lead to more research and new treatments and ultimately a cure for the condition.

Alzheimer Support Groups  

TAGS: Alzheimer's,   Alzheimer's Disease,   Aster medcity,   World Alzheimer Day,  

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