September, the month of Alzheimer’s
Surely, you might have already heard at least once about Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is very likely that this disease touched your own life or has affected someone in your family or your close circle, either your mother, your grandfather or a lifelong neighbor. But have you ever stopped to think about what you really know about this disease?
To commemorate the World Alzheimer’s Day that is celebrated on September 21th, we have collected 30 facts, one for each day of the month, that will help you to better understand what Alzheimer’s is about.
1. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a neurodegenerative disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
2. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are usually memory loss, mood or behavior changes and language difficulties. In general, they appear slowly and get worse over time.
3. Alzheimer’s disease is not related to normal aging and, increasingly, it is diagnosed in young people.
4. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and the applicable treatments can only slow down its progress.
5. It is expected that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia could increase to more than 131 million people by 2050.
6. There are 47 million people worldwide suffering from dementia. Alzheimer’s is currently the most common one.
7. Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost around 2 trillion dollars worldwide by 2030.
8. One of the peculiarities of Alzheimer’s is that even today the causes are unknown and, for this reason, research plays a key role.
9. Usually, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed in people older than 75 years, in advanced stages, despite the progressive increase among younger population.
10. 80% of people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed by the initiative of their family members.
11. 24% of Alzheimer’s patients live alone and, among these, almost 40% have no help from any caregiver.
12. Around 7 out of 10 people affected by Alzheimer’s are women.
13. Reading ability can be maintained until advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, it is recommended to encourage this habit among patients.
14. 67.2% of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia are women. The caregiver role is usually assumed by the wives or daughters of the affected people.
15. The disease that we know today as Alzheimer’s disease was first described by the German psychiatrist and neurologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906.
16. According to the WHO, Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth most important health problem in the world.
17. Recent studies suggest that cognitive stimulation programs are beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s because they can slow the progression of the disease.
18. It is estimated that about 6% of people affected by Alzheimer’s still drive.
19. In the last stage of the Alzheimer’s degenerative process, patients only have the emotional memory through which they can communicate with a smile, a hug or a kiss, but without understanding when, who or why.
20. Some of the modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s are alcohol and tobacco consumption, sedentary lifestyle and hypertension.
21. The drugs to treat Alzheimer’s are more effective in the early stages of the disease. For this reason, at present, research is focused on prevention and early detection.
22. The Daycare Unit of Fundació ACE, dedicated to the daily accompaniment of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, attended to around 300 users in 2017.
23. Fundació ACE diagnosed last year 1,280 people. A total of 858 of these were Alzheimer’s cases.
24. At Fundació ACE, we work on multiple international clinical trials and research projects focused on all stages of the disease.
25. Alzheimer’s affects each person differently. Its evolution and duration will differ depending on several factors such as age, personality, health or social status, among others.
26. The hereditary Alzheimer’s represents around 1% of all cases and usually it takes place when the person is very young.
27. There are risk genes in our DNA that, associated with environmental, toxic and lifestyle factors, can determine the development of Alzheimer’s, especially after the age of 65 years.
28. Word searches and sudokus are useful tools to stimulate the cognitive functions of the patient while having fun.
29. If we control blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar … Why not, memory? Fundació ACE performs free memory tests for people over 55 years to promote early detection.
30. Despite being the chronic disease that generates more social and economic costs, Alzheimer’s receives 10 times less investment in research than other pathologies such as cancer or heart disease.