Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is one of the top 10 causes of death in U.S. to which no cure has been discovered till date? It is ranked at position 6 in the list, with every 1 out of 5 people at risk of falling prey to Alzheimer’s at any point in time. By the year 2050, if no major breakthrough is made to meet the magnitude of this ailment, the number of victims is being speculated to increase by 3 times reaching a figure of 115 million.
What Is Alzheimer’s?
It is a degenerative disorder of brain that may occur as the person ages. Plaques of a protein called beta-amyloid and neurofibrillary tangles begin to develop in between cells (neurons) constituting the brain tissue. This leads to cognitive deficits due to degeneration of brain cells and a loss of connection between the existing neurons.
How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Different From Normal Aging?
As the age proceeds, it is quite common to start misplacing things or find it hard to remember all appointments of the daily schedule. This does not necessarily mean that you are developing Alzheimer’s disease. As long as you are aware of your memory decline and are trying to deal with it, by making notes in a diary or labeling sticky notes on drawers and cupboards; it cannot be Alzheimer’s. It is only a sign of forgetfulness due to aging if you are able to recall chores or appointments later and can manage your daily life activities independently like eating and driving.
Alzheimer’s Warning Signs — Who Is At Risk?
- People above age of 70 years
- Diagnosed diabetes patients
- People who are hypertensive
- People with heart diseases or hypercholesterolemia
- Children of an Alzheimer’s patient
- Patients with Down’s syndrome and are at an age of 40 years or above
- Those who received less than 8 years of education
Here are the warning signs that shout out loud for Alzheimer’s disease
- Your loved one is having difficulty in managing his accounts and needs help by the spouse.
- He has difficulty in recognizing familiar faces even that of close relatives and friends.
- He is unable to find his way back home while driving back from office.
- He cannot remember directions to familiar places that he had been visiting frequently in the past.
- Your loved one insists that his clothes and body are clean, despite the fact that he took bath and changed clothes more than a week back.
- He keeps asking the same question over and over again.
- When asked about some event, he fabricates a story putting in all the imaginary details.
- He is showing a change in personality traits that he possessed previously.
- Your loved one is unable to keep an orientation of time and place.
- He denies the existence of any deficit in memory or daily functioning and insists that he is perfectly fine.
Famous Celebrities With Alzheimer’s Disease
- President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004): He made a public disclosure of his disease after the end of his presidency tenure.
- Glenn Campbell: The popular country singer and musician born in 1936. Won the Grammy’s in 1967.
- Perry Como (1912-2001): The famous singer of 1960s.
- Charlton Heston (1923-2008): The political activist well known for his character of “Moses” in the movie THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
- Rita Hayworth (1918-1987): The famous American film star of 1940s.
- Burgess Meredith (1907-1997): The film producer and the famous character “Penguin” in the TV series called Batman.
- Norma Shearer (1902-1983): The American actress peaking in 1920s.
Point To Be Noted
The Alzheimer’s disease has a very broad spectrum of mental impairment, varying from symptoms as subtle as misplacing your car keys to a severe dysfunction in eating food or visiting the washroom. But with the latest escalation in research programs, Alzheimer’s might no longer remain the ‘sentence of death’ that it currently is. In order to know about the best strategy to prevent Alzheimer’s or manage a patient of the disease, stay tuned for my next article.