World Alzheimer’s Day: a day to raise awareness about this disease

September 21 World Alzheimer’s Day is celebrated with the aim of raising awareness about a disease that grows in cases, manifesting itself each year in a greater number of people worldwide. The loss of memory, but also loneliness, anguish and the lack of ability to verbalize it, are some of the hardest signs that affect this type of mental deterioration, which manifests itself especially in old age.

The commemoration of World Alzheimer’s Day was first held in 1994. Proclaimed by the World Health Organization and endorsed since 2012 by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), it has long served as an excuse to carry out awareness-raising and dissemination actions regarding this serious problem that affects mental health.

Although Alzheimer’s is a disease that has no cure, some actions can be taken to prevent deteriorations like these that strongly affect our ability to remember and manage freely in life. Memory stimulation therapies and certain changes towards a healthier diet They could be the key to begin to prevent and even palliate the advance of the disease when it is not very advanced.

For these reasons, World Alzheimer’s Day is celebrated every year, thus seeking through acts around the world in pursuit of requesting more resources to investigate this disease of unknown origin and causes. Also to recognize the space of the different people who are directly or indirectly affected by the disease. Both patients and relatives face situations where frustration and the feeling of failure are very present, and for this reason, the role of caregivers becomes a fundamental task that is also important to talk about.

World Alzheimer’s Day: what is this disease?

One of the major tasks of World Alzheimer’s Day is the demand for a greater amount of resources for research on this disease and also to raise awareness. In this sense, what is Alzheimer’s disease, how can we identify its symptoms and make known the possible paths to follow in case of suffering from it, is a necessary task.

Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that occurs due to atrophy in the brain, more precisely in the hippocampus area, causing neurons to die. It is the most common form of dementia and usually affects people over 65 years of age, although early cases have also been detected.

This form of senile dementia was observed for the first time in 1901 when the German psychiatrist and neurologist Alois Alzheimer treated a woman who was admitted with a picture of confusion, agitation, disorientation in space and time, as well as failures in the memory and paranoid behaviors.

A few years later in 1906, the woman passed away and Dr. Alzheimer asked permission to study her brain. When he opened it, he discovered that a third of the neurons had been affected by a kind of scab that today is known as senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. That was the first approximation to the knowledge of this disease that affects millions of elderly people.

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Alzheimer’s what is it?

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that mainly affects memory, but also causes problems with behavior and thinking. With Alzheimer’s, symptoms develop slowly and worsen over time until they become so severe that they end up interfering with all daily activities.

It represents an important problem for the patient as well as for his family because it is a cognitive disorder that affects the person’s ability to live independently. This is one of the main reasons for raising awareness about the disease through World Alzheimer’s Day.

Alzheimer’s disease: symptoms

In Alzheimer’s, the symptoms that appear first are those associated with memory loss, including the inability to recall recent events or conversations. Although we all have blackouts at times that are due to other factors, the truth is that with the disease this loss persists and worsens. At first, people with Alzheimer’s are aware that they are having a hard time remembering, but as the disease progresses, it is the environment that notices the worsening.

  • People with this type of dementia may begin to exhibit behaviors or symptoms such as:

  • Repeat statements and questions over and over.

  • Get lost in places you already know.

  • Systematically putting personal items in absurd places.

  • Forgetting about conversations or events and not remembering them later.

  • In a more advanced degree problems appear to remember names of people and everyday objects.

Also, with Alzheimer’s some of the most common symptoms are problems concentrating and thinking in abstract concepts, especially numbers. Doing many tasks at the same time and managing accounts or numbers are tasks that a person with Alzheimer’s will not be able to do in the long run. The disease also affects reasonable decisions, such as choosing the right clothes for an occasion and climate. When the disease worsens, very everyday tasks that require certain steps become a difficulty.

Often times, the changes that the same disease produces in the brain can affect mood and behavior. Irritability, distrust of others, depression, confusion, mood swings and delusions appear.

The last thing that is affected are the so-called preserved abilities that can be carried out for a longer time because they are located elsewhere in the brain. So even if the other symptoms get worse, a person with Alzheimer’s is able to read, tell stories, sing, listen to music, draw, or do crafts.

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Alzheimer’s: causes

Although the causes that cause the appearance of the disease are not known, it is known that the first lesions can appear at least 15 or 20 years before any symptoms appear. They are located in a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible, among other things, for learning and the formation of new memories. From there, Alzheimer’s usually spreads to the rest of the brain, atrophying it, causing the appearance of the most severe cognitive impairment.

Although it is not certain that this is the case, it is believed that the appearance of the disease has to do with a combination of risk factors. Some of them are not modifiable such as age or genetic predisposition. However, it is believed that the adoption of some healthy habits could reduce the appearance of the disease by 80%. These are:

  • Reduce the consumption of saturated fat.

  • Eat many more fruits and vegetables, making them the basis of your daily diet.

  • Make sure you eat foods that contain vitamins B12 and E.

  • Doing physical activity.

  • Avoid cooking food in aluminum pots and pans.

  • Do not consume vitamin complexes with iron and copper, unless strictly directed by a health professional.

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What to do so that World Alzheimer’s Day does not go unnoticed

First of all, if you have someone close to you who suffers from the disease or who is a caregiver for people with Alzheimer’s, don’t sit idly by. Offer your help and empathy, both to celebrate World Alzheimer’s Day and in your everyday life. It is a difficult diagnosis and doctors often do not know how to guide the family. Approach the associations that are dedicated to the investigation and treatment of the disease, they will know how to guide you about what you can and should do if you have a family member who suffers from it.

Furthermore, in particular for on World Alzheimer’s Day you can join the awareness activities, participate in programs or even watch some movies and documentaries on the subject.

Always remember that It is a disease that can affect us all when we get older and it is not easy to carry. The fact that there is a World Alzheimer’s Day does not mean that we remember this disease only one day a year, but that we should help to take action on the matter,

Tell us, what did you think of this information about World Alzheimer’s Day?