Alzheimer’s dementia is a degenerative brain disease. It is the most common form of dementia, and one of the largest public health crises. Early intervention in Alzheimer’s disease can reduce cognitive decline and improve symptoms like memory loss and behavioral changes.
Recently we had an elderly lady accompanied with six family members in the casualty at midnight with severe headache, bodyache, multiple joint pain who had visited many doctors before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She would complaint of abdominal pain, so she saw a gastroenterologist and underwent OGD scopy which was normal. She complained of multiple joint pain, back-ache for which orthopaedic doctor had evaluated her and her x-rays and MRI scans of various body parts were normal.
It was then, the relatives realised about the connection between her memory loss and vague multiple complaints. Relatives were counselled about the nature of illness and the behavioural issues with it. Their apprehension reduced and were able to accept the disease then. There are many other patients like this, who are suffering in silence and delaying treatment during the pandemic.
Dr. Akash Chheda, Neuro Physician, Kohinoor Hospital, Highlighted, ‘‘One in 10 after 70 years suffer from mild attention issues to the other end of spectrum with full blown Major cognitive disorder. Early diagnosis can help in preparation of family and patient about one’s will, and timely decisions about other important things in life.
Alzheimer’s disease leads to disturbance in the memory and thinking process due to which one will be unable to remember situations or things. One will forget whether he/she ate food, even names, about medical conditions, passwords, and some important incidents related to one’s life. This happens when the nerve cells in the areas of the brain that control language and reasoning die due to the plaque deposition in the brain.
One will not be able to do real-world activities with ease as this condition is debilitating. Confusion, mood swings, anxiety, social withdrawal, lack of understanding of things, inability to pronounce words properly, and impaired reasoning are some of the symptoms of this disease.’’
Dr. Chheda added, “Medication and cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful for Alzheimer’s patients.
Remember that early intervention is key to manage this disease. “Timely intervention of the disease will help the doctor determine whether the symptoms one exhibits are of Alzheimer’s or any other condition. An early diagnosis increases your chances of benefiting from the treatment.
Lifestyle modifications like controlling blood pressure, quitting smoking, weight loss, eating food loaded with all the essential nutrients, cognitive activities like reading, getting enough sleep, exercising, reducing stress, and being mentally and socially active, may help one in preserving the cognitive function. Early intervention lessens anxiety and addresses cognitive issues with the illness.
You and your family also have the opportunity to maximize your time together, improve depression symptoms, delay long-term nursing care, and access resources and support programs. This can give you peace of mind and reduce the burden on your family members,” concluded Dr. Chheda .