They added that if the situation continues, the disease would become a pandemic in a few years. The disorder is associated with changes in the cells of the brain. These changes adversely affect cognitive functions along with functional independence. Dementia is a general term to describe a group of symptoms that occur due to the death and decay of brain cells.
“After a person is retired, we think it is a resting period for them. But they should be more active after the age of 55 to prevent themselves from Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is no particular cure for this disorder. There are medications where it can symptomatically improve the condition of the patient. Also, there are studies which show that there are various methods it can reduce the risk factors like extracurricular activities for elderly people,” said Dr Praveen Chander, senior consultant neurologist, Gleneagles Global Health City.
Doctors pointed out that family members should ensure that the elderly person continues to read and write, as it would reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s because the study shows this disease is more common in illiterates.
“Also, having new hobbies like gardening, learning new languages, doing regular physical exercises, volunteering in social service would prevent them from this disease. The majority of the time, the family members do not bring the patients at the early stage, because they think it is part of the ageing. Though there is no complete cure, we can postpone the worsening of the illness,” said Dr Praveen.
The experts said the common symptoms are impaired memory, thinking, the inability to read or write, and not taking care of their hygiene.
According to Global Alzheimer’s Confederation, Alzheimer’s is an incurable and progressive neurodegenerative disease. Undoubtedly, Alzheimer’s disease is slowly becoming a pandemic, and worst of all, in the next 30 years, the number of patients with this disease will triple, claims the confederation.
“In India, the middle-aged population is more compared to the senior citizens. So it would take more years for us to be in that pandemic situation. The importance of knowing the disease in depth by families and caregivers is the key for Alzheimer’s to have a better quality of life. It is essential to meet their needs and remind them they are not alone,” said Dr Shubha Subramanian, Consultant Neurologist, Dr Rela Institute and Medical Centre.