Alzheimer’s disease causes a decline in memory, thinking, learning and organizing skills over time. It’s the most common cause of dementia and usually affects people over the age of 65. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, but certain medications and therapies can help manage symptoms temporarily.
Who does Alzheimer’s disease affect?
Some people develop Alzheimer’s disease before age 65 — typically in their 40s or 50s. This is called early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It’s rare. Less than 10% of AD cases are early-onset.
How common is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is common. It affects approximately 24 million people across the world. One in 10 people older than 65 and nearly a third of people older than 85 have the condition Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) vary based on the stage of the condition. In general, the symptoms of AD involve a gradual decline in some, most or all of the following:
Have growing confusion about which day of the week it is, which season they’re in and where they are/ Have poor short-term memory/ Have some difficulty recognizing friends and family/ Repeat stories, thoughts or events that are on their minds/ Have difficulty with simple math/ Need help with self-care, such as bathing, grooming, showering and using the bathroom/ Experience more personality changes, including being agitated or acting out/ They may show depression, apathy or anxiety as the disease progresses/ Develop groundless suspicions about family, friends and caregivers (delusions)/ Develop urinary incontinence and/or fecal (bowel) incontinence/ Have sleep disturbances/ Begin to wander from their living area.
The following strategies may help decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease:
Stay mentally active: Play board games, read, do crossword puzzles, play a musical instrument or do other hobbies that require “brain power.”
Get physically active: Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain, which may affect brain cell health. Wear protective headgear if you’re participating in activities that increase your risk of a head injury.
Stay socially active: Regularly talk with friends and family and join in on group activities, such as religious services, exercise classes, book clubs or community volunteer work.
Eat healthily: Follow the Mediterranean or DASH diet or another healthy diet that includes antioxidants. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Prof Dr MS Zahirul Haque Chowdhury,
Clinical Neurology Deartment,
National Institute of Neurosciences & Hospital