Saturday, Sep 23, 2023 21:45 [IST]
Last Update: Saturday, Sep 23, 2023 16:15 [IST]
Am I Forgetting Something???
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
We create countless memories each and every single day of our life, the good and bad memories which we make is forever stored in our brain. Remembering these moments brings forth a sense of nostalgia, happiness and sadness simultaneously. It seems to be very dreadful to think even about the fact of losing all these memories from our brain, which is equivalent to CPU of our body. But for some section of people, even these memories are transient and can be erased permanently from our brain. One such reason being Alzheimer’s disease.The most common age group affected by Alzheimer’s disease is the mid 60 s, and if it occurs in the young it is called as Early Onset Alzheimer’s. It presents with a myriad of symptoms, major ones being forgetfulness (of immediate and recent memory) and impaired judgement. Affected persons show poor judgement and impaired decision making, emotional and mood disturbances. These patients may forget where they kept their home keys while remembering the exact date of their marriage, an extrovert party loving person may turn antisocial suddenly. They may find it difficult to do simple mathematic calculation. These patients have trouble doing everyday work like bathing, washing, cooking. They may ask the same questions over and over again. Due to the chemical imbalance seen, they may also become depressed, agitated, and aggressive.
On 21st September each year we celebrate Alzheimer’s Day to create awareness about this disease which affects a large percentage of the old age population.
What is the science behind Alzheimer’s disease?
It is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain which severely affects the cognition of the brain. It is characterized by the deposition of abnormal proteinaceous material which causes severe imbalance in the chemical transmitters of the brain. Alzheimer’s shows familial inheritance, genetic factors have been implicated in the causation of Alzheimer’s. Genes like presenilin 1, 2 and apolipoprotein E4 have been implicated. Oxidative stress mediated by free radicals, inadequate sleep, metabolic causes like hypertension, diabetes mellitus , dyslipidemia have been implicated. There is considerable shrinkage in the size of brain due to neuronal degeneration.
Who is at risk of this disease?
Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease is also seen in patients with Down syndrome and Stroke patients. Patients with hyperhomocysteinemia, depression, hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, high body weight in the middle age are also prone to the disease.
How do we prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
Lifestyle modifications – like good quality sleep (deep sleep), physical and mental exercises, yoga and meditations, following your doctor’s prescription for diabetes, hypertension, stroke medications. Diet should include – green leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts, omega 3 fatty acids and coffee. Protective factors include adding Folate, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C to the diet.
How do I know if my relative has Alzheimer’s disease?
It is very hurtful to see our grandparents and our extended family members suffering with forgetfulness. Many of them have irritable behavior and do not like to mix in the family functions. We should not ignore this and treat it like old-age problems, but actively intervene and take them for a thorough neurological examination. If they are diagnosed and treated early, they will have a better quality of life.
How do we diagnose the disease?
The patient needs a thorough neurological examination (with the patients attender who gives the detailed history) followed by a few bedside tests (MMSE/MoCA) and a radiological investigation. There is a team of experienced doctors in the department of Neurosciences in CRH for the same.
What is the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease?
With recent advances in science and technology, the disease progression can be slowed down by using medicines. Functional neurosurgery (Deep brain Stimulation) is also a modality to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Is Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia same?
Dementia mean “loss of memory” and there are reversible and irreversible causes of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of Dementia.