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World Alzheimer's Day 2021: All about Alzheimer's disease, Symptoms, Cause, and Prevention

Shikha Goyal

World Alzheimer's Day 2021: It is observed on September 21 and this years' theme is "Know dementia, know Alzheimer's".

Dementia is one of the biggest challenges that we face. Nearly 50 million people are living with dementia across the world. To find solutions globally we need to work together, and to collaborate and share best practices with one another.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

It is the most common type of dementia.

It is a type of progressive disease that starts with mild memory loss and perhaps leads to the loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.

The disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.

It also seriously affects the ability of a person to carry out daily activities.

Who suffered most from Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the CDC, in 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Younger people may also suffer from Alzheimer's disease, but it is less common.

Every 5 years, the number of people living with the disease doubles beyond age 65.

It is said that this number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.

Symptoms may first appear after age 60, and the risk increases with age.

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease

What is the cause of Alzheimer's disease? It is not yet properly understood by scientists. It is said that maybe there is not a single cause but consists of several factors that can affect each person differently.

For Alzheimer's disease, age is the best-known factor.

According to the researchers, family history, that is genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.

A healthy lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Mainly, the damage starts in the region of the brain that controls memory, but the process begins years before the first symptoms.

As per some researchers, the cause of Alzheimer's disease is focused on the role of two proteins:

1. Plagues: Fragment of a larger protein called Beta-amyloid. When these filaments come closer together and form a cluster, then they appear to have a toxic effect on neurons and disrupt cell-to-cell communication. These clusters form large deposits known as amyloid plaques.

2. Tangles: Tau proteins play an important role in a neuron's internal support and transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials.
In Alzheimer's disease, the shape of tau proteins changes and organise themselves into structures known as neurofibrillary tangles.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

The key symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. Early signs are difficulty in remembering recent events or conversations.

As the disease advance, memory impairments worsen and other symptoms develop.

A person having symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following:

- Memory loss that disturbs daily life.

- Trouble in handling money and paying bills.

- Not able to complete familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.

- Decreased or poor judgment.

- Misplace things and then unable to retrace steps to find them.

- Changes in mood, personality, or behaviour.

Prevention of Alzheimer's disease 

It is not a preventable condition. Various lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer's can be modified. As per some evidence, changes in diet, exercise, and habits are few ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and this may also lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Some of the healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease are as follows:

- Exercise regularly

- Eat fresh food, produce, healthy oils, and food low in saturated fat.

- If you smoke, then take the help of your doctor for quitting it.

According to some studies, preserved thinking skills later in life and risk of Alzheimer's disease may be reduced and are associated with participating in social events, reading, dancing, playing board games, creating art, playing an instrument, and other activities that require mental and social engagement.

Also, Read

World Alzheimer's Day 2021: Current Theme, History, and Facts Why is the International Day of Peace observed on 21 September?

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