Explained: Of Alzheimer's disease, prevention, and cure

Every year, September 21 is observed as World Alzheimer's Day. On this occasion, Dr. Abhinay M. Huchche, Consultant Neuro physician at SLG Hospitals, Hyderabad answers few questions about Alzheimer's disease.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  21 Sep 2021 7:14 AM GMT
Explained: Of Alzheimers disease, prevention, and cure

Hyderabad: Every year, September 21 is observed as World Alzheimer's Day. The day is observed to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease.

On this occasion, Dr. Abhinay M. Huchche, Consultant Neuro physician at SLG Hospitals, Hyderabad answers few questions about Alzheimer's disease.

What is Alzheimer's disease and what is the day about?

September 21 has been selected for creating global awareness about Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is a progressive degenerative disease affecting the brain resulting in a slow decline in intellectual functions. Since 2012, global campaigning has been on to promote research for this debilitating disease without a radical cure

What are the estimates and how does it manifest?

Usually affecting people beyond their sixth decade, around 45 million have been inflicted by AD. With the average life span going up, the numbers are expected to increase by leaps and bounds. The commonest symptom is problems with recalling facts, things, and conversations. This may progress to difficulty expressing, navigating, planning, and executing with personality and behavioral changes as well.

How can neurologists help in treating this disease?

A good interview with the patient and his caretaker separately helps to find out reasons and gauging the impact of memory loss on the person. There are many treatable causes of memory loss that can mimic symptoms of AD which the neurologist can rule out by ordering tests.

What causes Alzheimer's disease?

A million-dollar question where research is still on to find out the exact cause. Nuclear imaging and In vitro studies on the brain have demonstrated the accumulation of excess 'Amyloid beta' and 'Tau' protein deposits in the brain and blood vessels.

Certain risk factors like obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and high cholesterol predispose to AD. Taking proper care of health can really benefit in the long term to prevent AD.

Can AD be treated?

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around the monoclonal antibody 'Aducanumab' which was recently approved for AD. Neurologists are in general cautious about using it in clinical practice considering the limited indications and the hasty approval process. There are medicines that help to alleviate the symptoms to an extent. AD is like an emotional setback for the partner and thus caregiver counseling is extremely crucial. They need to be made aware as to what behavior they can expect from their AD partner and what their reaction should be. Also, advice regarding caregiver burnout needs to be delivered from time to time.

Prevention is better than cure

Avoiding total retirement from work, having a social life, taking good care of your weight, sugars, blood pressure, and overall health are in general going to help people in the long term to ward off AD. Learning multiple languages, meditation and yoga are practices that are beneficial.

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