September is the month for spreading awareness about the disease Alzheimer’s that affects many people around the globe. One should be aware of the dangers, causes, and how to treat a person with Alzheimer’s. Every year a new theme and a campaign are launched to spread knowledge and raise funds for the people suffering from the disease.
The theme for World Alzheimer’s Day 2021
World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on September 21, every year globally. The day is marked to raise awareness about the disease and to promote better treatment choices for those who are affected. The campaign theme for 2021 is “Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s” and it’s all about the power of information. Throughout the campaign, the light will be thrown on the warning symptoms of dementia and the need of getting a diagnosis as soon as possible.
Diagnoses are increasing at an exponential rate, and treating them is one of our healthcare system’s most expensive endeavours. Not only can early detection enhance one’s quality of life, but it also saves money. But the problem lies in the fact that very few people are aware of the disease and hence this prolongs their treatment. It’s important to be aware and spread knowledge about the same.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia, which is a broad term encompassing memory loss and other cognitive impairments that interfere with everyday living. Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative illness in which brain cells deteriorate and die. It is responsible for 60-80% of dementia cases. The difficulty remembering new knowledge is the most prevalent early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. The seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- No impairment
- Very mild decline
- Mild decline
- Moderate decline
- Moderately severe decline
- Severe decline
- Very severe decline
Symptoms, Causes, and Cure
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by memory loss. The inability to recall recent events or discussions is generally an early symptom of the illness. While the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, family legacy can be considered an important factor. There is no cure for the disease as of now, but experts believe that lowering blood pressure, exercising, and not smoking can reduce the risk, while medications and therapies can temporarily alleviate symptoms such as hypertension, hearing loss, obesity, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and social isolation.
History of the Day
Even though the name of the disease may be discovered recently, the existence of the disease and its symptoms goes long back. Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher who lived in the 7th century BC, spoke of “a human lifetime” and referred to the final years of human existence as the “senium.” He used the term senium to characterize a period of mental and physical deterioration. Several writers and philosophers have mentioned the disease in their works directly or indirectly. For e.g.- Shakespeare wrote about it in several of his famous plays like “Hamlet” and “King Lear” in the late 1500s and early 1600s when the characters lost mental acuity as they grew older.
A German doctor called Alois Alzheimer discovered the first instance in a 50-year-old German lady in 1901, and the brain disease was named after him. Alzheimer Disease International was formed in 1984, and on their 10th anniversary in 1994, they announced the first World Alzheimer’s Day, which would be marked on September 21, and World Alzheimer’s Month, which will be observed in 2012.
The seriousness of the disease and the lack of knowledge about it demands attention and needs people to be aware of its consequences. Alzheimer’s disease affects around 6% of individuals aged 65 and over, yet according to prior research, two out of every three people worldwide have little or no understanding of the disease or dementia. Many people believe that this condition is a natural aspect of growing older, but this is not the case. It is critical that people understand dementia and encourage openness and conversation about it.
Providing Support and Treatment
The world is still trying to search for treatments for the disease or looking for medicines that can prevent the occurrence of it. But the scientific world is still in the maze regarding it. However, there are medications that can temporarily alleviate the symptoms. Support is also provided to assist people with the disease, as well as their families, in coping with daily life. While there is no cure for dementia, developing appropriate dementia care, providing life care, support for family members, protecting people suffering from it with timely care, early diagnosis to improve a patient’s condition, discussion, destigmatization, putting the needs of the patient and family first, reaching out to dementia patients, are all things that can be done to help.
We stand in solidarity with all the people suffering from the disease and extend our support to the family members of the patients. We can gain knowledge and spread awareness on our parts. Add your voices to the global awareness-raising campaign under the hashtags #KnowDementia and #KnowAlzheimers.