Millions of people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Every three seconds someone in the world develops Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer Disease International (ADI). It is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that impairs memory and other mental functions. It slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
For many people, the first sign of Alzheimer’s is a change in memory. But others have changes in mood, language or thinking skills. It affects a person’s mood, they often become depressed, anxious or irritable. For e.g. some people with Alzheimer’s may have trouble remembering to pay the bills, others may have trouble planning their day to day activities. The symptoms first appear in people of mid-60s, some have early signs at the age of 40. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age but is not a normal part of aging. This disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia- It is the term applied to a group of symptoms that negatively impact the memory.
In Alzheimer’s disease, there is a large build-up of proteins called amyloid and tau within the brain cells. These proteins are naturally present in the brain, but it’s still unknown why they build up in large amounts. The disease can go on for many years without any symptoms. When the number of proteins is formed in the brain cells, the cells start losing their ability to function and they eventually die. This causes the affected parts of the brain to shrink. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 50 million people around the world are living with dementia. By 2050, more than 13,150,000 people will be afflicted.
Alzheimer disease falls into three sub-conditions
- Inflammatory – in which toxic protein formations leads to progressive dementia.
- Non-inflammatory – in which these toxic proteins are not in a high ratio, but still affects the brain functioning through metabolic abnormalities.
- Cortical – which typically affects young individuals, and appears more widely distributed across the brain than the other two subtypes.
World Alzheimer’s day is celebrated every year around the world on 21st September. This year September 2018 will be marked as the 7th World Alzheimer’s Month. The first campaign was launched in 2012. This is an international campaign which aims to raise awareness and challenge the common stigma that surrounds dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness is represented by the purple color. This color symbolizes mystery, and Alzheimer’s is indeed a mysterious disease. This disease was first described by Dr. Alois Alzheimer a clinical psychiatrist and neuroanatomist in 1906 who noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died of unusual mental illness. Alois Alzheimer was a German psychiatrist who discovered the pathological condition of dementia and diagnosed the disease that bears his name.
Most people often think that this disease is a normal part of aging. This is due to the lack of information about dementia which is a global problem. Organizations around the world come together on this day to support finding a cure for this sorrowful disease. To deal with this global dementia challenge we need to work together and share best practice with one another. World Alzheimer’s Month (September) is an opportunity to make people understand the health issues that are affecting people as the years are passing. We can encourage and support those who are already affected by dementia around the world. We can also help people to know the number of ways by which this illness can be prevented by changing their lifestyle.