TODAY -

Observation of World Alzheimer’s Day and World Alzheimer’s Month 2018
Every 3 seconds someone in the world develop dementia

Dr N Heramani Singh*



Introduction: September 21st every year is World Alzheimer’s Day around the world. This is an international campaigned aimed at raising awareness and challenges the common stigma that surrounds Alzheimer related dementia. It was launched in 1994 on the 10th Anniversary of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).

Alzheimer is a progressive disease that impairs memory and other mental functions. It is the most common form of dementia that generalizes memory loss and loss of other essential cognitive abilities that are serious enough to interfere with an individual’s daily life. September 21st 2018 marked the 7th World Alzheimer’s months since the campaign was launched in 2012. From previous studies, an average of 2 out of 3 people globally has little or no understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementia in countries. Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndrome which affects memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common types of dementia responsible for up to 90% of all cases of dementia.

Symptoms may include:
o Loss of memory.
o Difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying?
o Difficulty in performing previously routine task.
o Personality and mood changes.

Dementia knows no social, economic or geographical boundaries. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspect of daily life. There currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatments, advice and support are available. Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develop dementia. The number of people living with dementia around the world is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 152 million by 2050.

The global lost of dementia is over $ US one trillion in 2018 exceeding the market value of the world’s largest companies Apple and Microsoft. “Dementia is now widely recognized as one of the most significant health crisis of the 21st Century” An absence of dementia public policy renders governments woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic. It is essential that government around the world act now to reduce the impact of dementia by raising awareness and promoting risk reduction and by supporting increase diagnostic care and research.

Warning signs of dementia:
1.Memory loss
2.Disorientation to time & place
3.Changes in mood and behavior
4.Difficulty in performing familiar task
5.Trouble with images and spatial relationships
6.Problems with languages (I den’t Romedbir)
7.Poor or decreased judgment
8.Misplacing things
9.Withdrawal from work or social activities.

Key messages:
Statistics.
1.Someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds.
2.There are over 50 million people living with dementia in 2018, and this is expected to increase to 152 million by 2050 of effective risk reduction strategies are not implemented worldwide.
3.Most people with dementia in low and middle income countries and the number in some regions is expected to increase by five times in 2050. The number of people living with dementia is expected to be double in high income countries.

Risk reduction and Diagnosis:
1.Diagnosis of dementia is made too late. Earlier diagnosis is important to ensure that people living with dementia and their care partners can live as well as possible longer, and access the support they need.
2.As few as one in ten individuals received a diagnosis for dementia in low and middle income group, and less than one in two individuals are diagnosed in high income countries. More people living with dementia need access to a doctor who can provide a diagnosis and help to plan necessary support.
3.Risk reduction measures and earlier diagnosis of dementia could save governments money, by reducing the high cost of emergency and avoidable health instructions, improving care and by increasing the effectiveness of social, community and other care services.
4.Governments have an opportunity and a responsibility to dramatically increase awareness, detection and diagnosis of dementia by meeting targets of the World Health Organization (WHO) global plan of dementia.
5.Earlier diagnosis has the power to change the perception of dementia, by illustrating that living as well as possible can be achieved with support, respect and access to service.
6.Individuals diagnosed with dementia earlier have a unique opportunity to take part in dementia research, which may indentify new treatments help to find a cure or improve care.
5 Ways to help reduce your risk of dementia

Research suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle may help to reduce a person’s risk of dementia late in life. The general rule is what’s good for heart is good for the brain, so both should be well looked after with a balanced diet and regular physical and mental exercise. Much of what is needed are simple activities you can include in your day to day life. Remember, it is never too late to make any of these changes.

Below are five ways you can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia:

1.Look after your heart: Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity all damage the blood vessels and increase the risk for having a stroke or a heart attack that could contribute the developing dementia in late life. These problems can be prevented through healthy life style choices and should be treated effectively if they do occur.

2.Be physically active: Physical activity and exercise are powerful preventive medicines, helping you control your blood pressure and weight, as well as reducing the risk of type II Diabetic and some form of cancer. There is also some evidence to suggest that some kinds of physical activity can reduce the risk of developing dementia. The good news is that getting active is proven to make us feel good and is a great activity to do with friends and family.

3.Follow a healthy diet: Food is fuel of both brain and body we can help both to function properly by eating a healthy balanced diet. Some evidence suggest that a Mediterranean type diet rich in cereal, fruits, fish, legume and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of dementia which more studies are needed on the benefit of specific foods or supplements we do know that eating lots of foods which are high in saturated fat, sugar and /or salt is associated with high risk of heart disease and is best avoided.

4.Challenge your brain: Be challenging the brain in the need activities you can help build new brain neurons and strengthen the connections between them. This may counter the harmful effects of Alzheimer disease and dementia pathologies. By challenging your brain you can learn some great new things. So how about learning a new language or taking up a new hobby.

5.Enjoy social activities: Social activities may be beneficial to brain health because they stimulate our brain reserves helping to reduce our risk of dementia and depression. Try and make time for friends and family. You can even combine your activities in the physical and mental exercise through sport or other hobbies.

Summary and conclusion: World Alzheimer’s day 21st Sept has been observed since 1994 by Alzheimer’s disease International. World Alzheimer Dementia month Sept every year has been observing since 2012. This year by 21st Sept 2018 is the 7th World Alzheimer’s month with the leading theme that for every 3 seconds in the world one person develops dementia. Dementia is a collective name for progressive brain syndrome that causes disorientation of time and of a variety of different functions such as memory, thinking, recognition and language and planning and personality. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 60% of cases of dementia. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, dementia with lewy body and fronto-temporal dementia.

Most kinds of dementia have similar symptoms including memory loss, problem in thinking, planning and language, failure to recognize people & objects, personality and mood changes. By 2050, the number of people living with dementia around the world will have almost trebled to 152 million making the disease one of the most significant health and social crises of the 21st Century.

What all we can do is that: Early recognition, removal of stigma which surrounds the disorder, remember every 3 seconds one person develops dementia in the world, recognition of early signals, timely investigation and provide treatment care and nursing care givers, take part in research for finding out a cure, stakeholders should take the most important role and mainly the governments should be ready to fight and give a plan for managing such a crisis.

Message:

Dementia is not a simple ageing process which leads to memory disturbance. It is a kind of serious illness more common in elderly. It should be timely recognized and intervene properly with love and care and all have to remove the stigma surrounding this disorder and best treatment should be provided as we take care of cancer and heart attack up to the terminal stage.

So, that dementia people can live longer happily with dignity, respect and care as the opportunity to have a proper socialization in the family and society.


* Dr N Heramani Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Professor & Former H.O.D. Deptt. of Psychiatry, RIMS & President, Indian Psychiatric Society, Manipur State Branch
This article was webcasted on October 01, 2018.



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