Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Each year on September 21st Alzheimer’s organizations across the world hold World Alzheimer’s Day. This day is when organizations concentrate their efforts on bringing more information to the public about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Every three seconds, someone in the world develops a form of dementia. At this time there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
What is the cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
- Progressive death of the cells of the brain
- Shrinking of brain size
- Fewer nerve cells and connections in the brain
Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include a family history of the disease, aging and genes. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease where progressive brain cell death happens over a period of time. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be confusing as they resemble those of other diseases. Cognitive decline must be proven as well as an inability to function at regular levels. Doctors usually rely on the list below. Patients must show at least two of these symptoms.
Loss of ability to understand or remember new information. Patients will misplace items, repeat questions, forget important appointments and get lost on familiar streets.
Personality and behaviour changes. These include mood swings, agitation, social withdrawal, loss of interest and motivation.
Impaired reason and judgement. Those with Alzheimer’s are no longer able to handle their finances and make poor decisions. Quite often those with Alzheimer’s disease don’t understand when they are in danger or performing tasks that are risky.
Most patients will also lose their ability to recognize those who are familiar to them, including family members. They can become confused using simple tools and will show difficulty in understanding words or spelling.
This year on World Alzheimer’s Day look for events in your community or ways that you can help those who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. There are Alzheimer’s organizations in most communities who could use your help.