World Alzheimer's Day: From causes to symptoms, all you need to know about the disease

World Alzheimer's Day is observed on 21 September to create awareness about the disease, which currently has no cure

FP Trending September 21, 2022 07:00:24 IST
World Alzheimer's Day: From causes to symptoms, all you need to know about the disease

Alois Alzheimer's patient, Auguste Deter, in November 1901. She was the first known patient with Alzheimer's disease. Wikimedia Commons

Alzheimer’s disease refers to a progressive disorder that causes degeneration of the brain cells. It is among the most common causes of dementia. It deteriorates the thinking capacity of an individual as well as their behavioural and social skills. This can disrupt a person’s ability to function independently. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease occurs due to the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. Although it’s not very well known what triggers this process, scientists are of the view that it begins many years before any symptoms appear. As the brain cells are affected, there is a decrease in chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) involved in sending signals or messages between brain cells. World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on 21 September to create awareness about the disease. As we gear up for the day this year, here are some of the causes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

What increases the risk of getting the disease?

  • Age: Age is one of the major contributing factors. The likelihood of developing this disease doubles every five years after you have reached the age of 65.
  • Genetics: Two categories of genes influence if a person gets Alzheimer’s disease. These include risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer’s genes have been found in both the categories. Very few Alzheimer’s cases happen because of deterministic genes (genes that cause a disease, rather than increasing the risk of developing a disease).
  • Head Injury: Some studies have shown that there is a link between Alzheimer’s disease and major head injuries.

What are some common symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

  1. People get confused, disoriented and lose their way in familiar places.
  2. Difficulty in planning or making decisions.
  3. Unable to express themselves clearly.
  4. They face problems in moving around without assistance or performing self-care tasks.
  5. They experience changes in their personality, and become aggressive.
  6. They experience hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are actually not there) and delusions (believing things that are untrue).
  7. Anxiety.

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