World Alzheimer's Day
25 years ago, specifically in 1984 in Washington, a group of Alzheimer’s disease experts presented a dream and vision under the slogan “A better life for people suffering from dementia and their families.” Since that time, the World Alzheimer’s Day has been celebrated on September 21 annually.
Alzheimer's is a degeneration of healthy brain cells that results in a continuous decline in memory and in mental and intellectual abilities. It is the most common cause of dementia, which damages mental and social skills; This impairs daily functioning in normal life and deteriorates further over time.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, and it is likely that it contributes to the incidence of 60% to 70% of cases, and dementia is a syndrome characterized by a deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to carry out daily activities, and it is one of the most important causes that lead to disability and loss of independence for the elderly. Dementia also has physical, psychological, social and economic effects not only on patients, but also on those who care for them, their families and society.
Its name is due to the psychiatrist "Alois Alzheimer", who found in 1906 an accumulation of protein in a patient of his who was suffering from symptoms of forgetfulness and confusion, and stated that it is possible to understand Alzheimer's disease through two different types of protein imbalance: beta-amyloid plaques and tau protein. The former is harmless, but its accumulation causes the formation of plaques between neurons in the brains of patients that prevent communication between them. As for the “tau” protein, it is responsible for maintaining the shape of brain cells, but sometimes a defect occurs that causes it to be deposited and cause the death of neurons responsible for thinking, memory, language and orientation, in the region called the “hippocampus,” which leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin with partial memory loss that obstructs the patient’s daily life, facing a challenge and difficulty when planning, difficulty in developing solutions to problems, difficulty completing the usual tasks, difficulty choosing words in writing or speaking, and sometimes the patient finds Difficulty understanding visual images and linking them to spatial relationships, as well as suffering from changes in moods and behaviors and the inability to make a decision, which may lead to withdrawal from work and social activities.
As for dementia, according to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 47.5 million people with Alzheimer’s in the world, and the world witnesses 7.7 million new cases of the disease annually, and its symptoms come in the initial stages gradually, as represented in forgetfulness, loss of ability to perceive time, and lost or astray in familiar places. Like at home, as the condition develops, signs and symptoms become more apparent, such as forgetting recent events and people's names, increasing difficulty communicating with others, needing help with self-care, and behavior changes, including repeatedly asking the same questions.
As for the advanced stage, it is characterized by complete dependence on others and almost inactivity, and at this stage memory disturbances become large and physical signs and symptoms become more clear, it may reach difficulty walking, difficulty recognizing relatives and friends, as well as a change in behavior that may escalate to include an aggressive form.
"Early diagnosis is very important, we focus our efforts on prevention and early recognition of the disease," says Richard Dowdell, a neurologist and expert in Alzheimer's disease. Many suffer from symptoms of forgetfulness with age, but attention should be paid when these symptoms become severe and persist for a long time.
He adds. Doodle, in his speech to the German "Focus" website, explained the most important prevention methods, "It has been proven that physical activity reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and endurance exercise is the most appropriate for this purpose."