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World Alzheimer’s day 2019 : Here’s how you can stall this degenerative disease

A proper amount of folic acid may help the patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps in preventing memory loss due to ageing. ©Shutterstock

September 21 is observed as World Alzheimer's Day. Here is everything you need to know about it.

Written by Paras Hemrajani |Updated : September 21, 2019 6:35 PM IST

Every year on the 21st of September, World Alzheimer's Day is celebrated. This year the focus or the theme is to generate awareness about it. According to the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR), more than 4 million people are suffering from some kind of dementia in India alone. So, if you have a family history of Alzheimer's and believe that you might also get it, chances are that your fear is right.

Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. This disease refers to the condition where there is a decline in the brain functions such as memory, language, thinking, reasoning and recognition abilities. Forgetting names and phone numbers is a normal part of old age. But forgetting recently learned information is a sign of Alzheimer's. If the frequency of these memory loss events is high, then you could be suffering from Alzheimer's.


Simply put, it is life threatening. During the early stage, forgetfulness and confusion are common. But, as the disease progresses, it can lead to loss of critical brain function and even death. Apart from the disease itself, the risk of catching other complimentary diseases is also high. For example, during the later stages, people often forget about meals and how to swallow it. This makes them susceptible to malnutrition and a weak immune system. You can die from the associated diseases too.

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Who are at risk of ALZHEIMER'S disease?

People often believe that Alzheimer's can only happen to old people. According to the National Health Service, UK, later onset of Alzheimer's cover 95 per cent of cases, but 5 per cent of the cases are those that happen to people below the age of 65. No single test can confirm or deny the cause of Alzheimer's. Everything depends on clinical assessment by a doctor.


Genes, lifestyle and environmental factors are the biggest contributors of any degenerative disease. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, apolipoprotein E (APOE) is the gene that is most associated with late-onset of this disease. If a child inherits two of these genes from each of the parent, then the risk of this disease increases.

Are there any cure for ALZHEIMER'S?

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease yet and neither can the symptoms like memory loss be reversed. Currently, there are no approved drugs that can help you with Alzheimer's. There are several drugs that are currently in the trail phase.


According to the society of the Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, only if Alzheimer's is detected early can a person's life be managed and extended. This is true for all the different types of dementia conditions. Early signs include memory loss, difficulty performing familiar task, problem with language, disorientation about time and place, change in mood, trouble in understanding images and pattern and withdrawal from social activities. Understanding and detecting these signs are very important because of multiple reasons.

If you detect the condition in its early stage then you will be better prepared and equipped to fight the condition when it progresses. Early detection will give you time to prepare for the worst of the times. You can manage your home affairs and legal affairs in a better manner.

The available drugs would work better if started at an early stage. If the disease progresses, even available drugs would not be able to handle the symptoms. Taking these drugs at the right time would enhance their quality of life.

Early diagnosis will open more doors for you for treatment through clinical trials. Most clinical trials happening for Alzheimer's only take patients who have not fully progressed. If they have full blown Alzheimer's, they are not eligible for study.


Regular check-up

Go for regular check-ups and, if you are women, then definitely go for a check-up as soon as you see the first sign. According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, women are more vulnerable to degenerative brain diseases. If detected early, the progression of the disease can be slowed.

Beware if you have a heart conditon

The faulty supply of blood to the brain increases the risk of forming dementia and other degenerative brain diseases. The brain cannot function without oxygen. So it is important that the supply doesn't stop or reduce.

Strenghten your brain

If you believe that you can suffer from Alzheimer's, then it is best to keep your brain ready for the battle. Rather than saving numbers in your phone, remember them in your mind, play games that increase the cognitive abilities of the brain like sudoku, chess, memory games or crossword. Reading, writing and learning improve brain functions. So, it's best to read and learn all that you can right now.


Exercise increases the blood flow in the brain, which improves its strength. If you are in the early stage of your Alzheimer's, then it can stop your progression. Taking out just 30 minutes from your busy week would go a long way in stalling this degenerative disease.


According to a study published in the journal Nature, if you socialise now at parties, support groups or hobby groups, it will help you stall the effects of Alzheimer's. Go out to meet people and connect with them. This will help your brain.

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