World Alzheimer’s Day: How people in India perceive the ailment

Alzheimer’s occurs due to the progressive degeneration of nerves, which in turn, affects the parts of the brain associated with memory and behavior.

World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on September 21st every year. The day is observed to increase awareness about the disease.  Alzheimer’s happens in the twilight years of a human being and it is also a period when the person is completely dependent on support from others. Alzheimer’s and its associated symptom of dementia are poorly understood in India.

Dementia or loss of memory is a very common symptom in old age. It is not curable, but with support, the standard of living of the person with dementia can be maintained.  In India dementia in elderly is often considered a common happening and termed often in Hindi as ‘सठियाना’.

However, nothing is far from truth than this. The progressive loss of memory and its associated after-effects are clearly visible and certain measures can go a long way in slowing the progression of the condition.

Alzheimer’s disease occurs due to the progressive degeneration of nerves, which in turn, affects the parts of the brain associated with memory and behavior. As the disease progresses changes in memory, behavior, communication and skills are visible.

Alzheimer’s disease: The symptoms

Memory loss is the most visible sign of the disease. If the person forgets where he has kept the keys or often get lost in the city or is unable to remember even most recent events, it is the sign that he could be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Other symptoms include difficulty in doing simple calculations like addition, multiplication, counting money etc. Changes in the signature could also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Depression, difficulty in taking decisions, concentration problems, and extreme restlessness are also signs, which must not be neglected in elders. 

If any member of the family suffers from any or many of the above symptoms, it is time to consult a neurologist or neurology specialist. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s requires huge social and family support. Their condition might get worse with the passage of time and the family must be well prepared to face it.

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