Ludhiana, September 21, 2015: Alzheimer’s Awareness Programme was organised by Fortis Hospital, Ludhiana. The day started with ‘Aardas’ (Prayer) by Fortis Hospital, Ludhiana employees, patients and their relatives. More than 100 patients and their relatives attended the programme. Separate rounds of Interaction were held and a lot of queries regarding Alzheimer’s were resolved. The whole session was followed by question-answer round on various scenarios of daily life. Programme was held under the supervision of Dr.Alok Jain Consultant Neurologist, Fortis Hospital, ludhiana.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Alok Jain, said that Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and disabling disorder that destroys memory and other important mental functions due to progressive shrinking of brain. It's the most common cause of ‘dementia’ — a group of brain disorders that result in the loss of intellectual and social skills, interfering with day-to-day living. In the year 2010, approximately 37 lakh Indian people aged over 60 years had dementia, ant over the next few years India is set to become the country with the maximum number of dementia patients in the world.
Unfortunately, the symptoms are often dismissed as signs of aging by the family members. What needs to be stressed is that serious memory lapses, confusion and behaviour changes are not a part of normal aging. And timely medical evaluation and interventions can help people with Alzheimer's disease maximize function and maintain independence for longer periods.
Further He said that, It's important to be aware of the various symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, which go much beyond just memory loss, and are discussed below.
Memory: Everyone has occasional memory lapses. But the memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease persists and worsens, affecting one’s ability to function at work and at home. People with Alzheimer's may repeat statements and questions over and over; forget conversations or events; misplace possessions and often putting them in illogical locations; and eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects.
Disorientation and misinterpreting spatial relationships: People with Alzheimer's disease may lose their sense of what day it is, the season, where they are or even their current life circumstances. They may start getting lost in familiar places.
Speaking and writing: Those with Alzheimer's may have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations. Over time, the ability to read and write also declines.
Thinking and reasoning: Alzheimer's disease causes difficulty concentrating and thinking, especially about abstract concepts like numbers. It may be challenging to manage finances, balance checkbooks, and keep track of bills and pay them on time. These difficulties may progress to inability to recognize and deal with numbers.
Making judgments and decisions: Responding effectively to everyday problems, such as food burning on the stove or unexpected driving situations, becomes increasingly challenging.
Planning and performing familiar tasks: Once routine activities that require sequential steps, such as planning and cooking a meal or playing a favourite game, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer's may forget how to perform basic tasks such as dressing and bathing.
Changes in personality and behaviour: People with Alzheimer's may experience depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, mood swings, distrust in others, irritability and aggressiveness, wandering tendencies, and loss of social inhibitions.
Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease: Increasing age is the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer's disease results from a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, elevated homocysteine levels, poorly controlled diabetes, diet lacking in fruits and vegetables might increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Whereas higher levels of formal education, a stimulating job, mentally challenging leisure activities, such as reading, playing games, and frequent social interactions might reduce your risk of developing dementia.
How to deal with a family member with dementia? It’s important we change our mindset that the condition is not just a manifestation of aging but a disease, and seek appropriate medical help. One must rule out reversible causes of dementia. There are medicines which can improve the memory, functional status and behavioural symptoms and slow down the disease progression. The family members need to be educated about the disease so that they can interact and deal with the patient better and also it reduces the care-giver stress on them.
A dementia patient needs our empathy and support to live his sunset years with dignity. So let’s understand and help them. Remember, they need us now, like we needed them then.
Also present on the occasion were Dr. Harpreet Brar, Admin Head, Dr. Ankush Mehta, Medical Superintendent and Dr.Ajay Pal Singh Sandhu Fortis Hospital Ludhiana.