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Alzheimer's disease: what you need to know?

Every year, September 21 is International Alzheimer's Day

There are currently more than 55 million people with dementia in the world, including more than 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. There are nearly 10 million new cases of dementia each year.

Dementia is the result of various pathologies and injuries affecting the brain. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which probably accounts for 60-70% of cases.

Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the world and is one of the main causes of disability and dependency of the elderly.

In 2019, the global economic costs of dementia amounted to 1.3 trillion. dollars USA, of which approximately 50% of the costs are for informal care and supervision of the sick (for example, by their relatives and close friends), which is carried out on average 5 hours a day.

By 2030, this amount is expected to increase to $1.7 trillion. USA, and adjusted for the growth of aid costs - up to 2.8 trillion dollars.

The problem of dementia affects women to a much greater extent, directly or indirectly. Women have a higher burden of dementia in disability-adjusted life years, as well as mortality rates from it.

Women bear the main burden of caring for people with dementia.

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease. In 1906, Alois Alzheimer described its clinical and neuropathological features.

10 signs of Alzheimer's disease:

- disorientation in time and place;

- difficulties in performing everyday work;

- repetition of questions and constant clarification of already known information;

- problems with dialogue and speech disorders;

- problems with remembering the location of things;

- counting problems;

- change in mood and behavior;

- the ability to think rationally and make decisions is lost;

- violation of visual sensations in the perception of space;

- difficulty navigating in space and keeping balance, distinguishing colors and

contrast, there are problems with reading and driving;

- termination of labor and social activity.

The first bells:

The main one is a violation of short-term memory. The patient cannot remember elementary things, for example, a list of products to the store or planned tasks for the day.

Early signs and symptoms of dementia include:

- memory lapses and forgetfulness of recent events;

- loss of things or inability to remember where they were left;

- disorientation when walking or driving a car;

- disorientation, even in a familiar environment;

- loss of time account;

- difficulties in solving problems or making decisions;

- violation of the ability to follow the conversation or difficulties with the selection of words;

- difficulty in performing familiar tasks;

- problems with visual assessment of the distance to objects.

Common changes in mood and behavior include:

- anxiety, depression or irritation about memory failures;

- personality changes;

- violation of behavioral norms;

- refusal to work or communicate with people;

- decreased interest in other people's feelings.

Currently, it is not known what exactly causes the development of dementia, but there are general tips on how to prevent the disease:

- Lead a healthy lifestyle and give up bad habits.

- Communicate more. Communication is an active mental activity, including concentration and memory stimulation.

- Control blood pressure, reduce salt intake and maintain a healthy weight.

- Train your brain and develop your memory.

The work of the brain changes with age, most patients are over 65 years old. But Alzheimer's disease is not normal aging.

In May 2017, the World Health Assembly endorsed the "Global Health Sector Action Plan for the Dementia Response 2017-2025". The Plan is a comprehensive program of action for policy makers, international, regional, national partners and WHO.

Remember! People with Alzheimer's disease need the support of loved ones and timely treatment to slow down the development of degenerative changes.


Oksana KUNINETS is a doctor of general hygiene of the Lviv Regional Center and Disease Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine



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