- Physical activity is important for people with Alzheimer’s
- Not all memory loss means Alzheimer’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease can begin in a person’s early 40s
World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on 21 September worldwide. Day ID meant increased awareness of the neurological condition, its causes, symptoms, and management. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes problems with memory, thinking skills, and behavior. Memory loss is one of the earliest symptoms, along with a gradual decline of other intellectual and cognitive functions leading to behavioral changes. Misconceptions about the disease often stand in the way of understanding it and helping those affected.
World Alzheimer’s Day: Below are some common myths that exist about the disease.
Myth 1: Memory loss means Alzheimer’s
Fact: Occasional memory problems, such as forgetting where you have placed your car keys or are unable to remember the name you recently met. Amnesia can be caused by many reasons such as sleepiness, fatigue, insufficient hydration, or too much multi-tasking effort. At such times, a brain unable to process too much data at the same time and forgetting things may be the reason. Vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid disorders and uncontrolled diabetes can also cause short-term memory loss. Sometimes patients with severe depression also complain of memory loss that is not real.
Although some degree of memory loss is expected with aging, it does not mean that a person has Alzheimer’s. When memory loss affects daily functioning, coupled with a lack of judgment and reasoning, it is probably best to consult a neurologist.
Myth 2: Once Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, a person’s life ends.
Fact: If someone discovers Alzheimer’s diseases, it does not mean that life is over or you are powerless against the disease. It is possible to maintain productive, meaningful and enjoyable years by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying socially connected, and managing stress.
Changing your lifestyle can help slow the progression of the disease, delay the onset of more severe symptoms, and preserve your life for as long as possible. It is recommended to regularly exercise at least four kilometers per day along with a healthy heart diet recommended by the expert. Staying socially connected – Meeting and talking with friends or chatting on social media also helps. Being able to enjoy social activities can make a big difference in one’s health and outlook.
Myth 3: Alzheimer’s is hereditary
Fact: It is often seen that members of the first degree family live in fear that they may get diseases. However, such incidents are rare, accounting for only about 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.
Myth 4: Alzheimer’s affects only older people
Fact: Alzheimer’s disease can begin as early as a person’s early 40s.
Myth 5: Alzheimer’s disease is curable
Fact: Since there is no cure to cure this disease now. There are no proven food products or supplements that can help relieve Alzheimer’s. However, consumption of 30 mg of saffron may delay memory. Medications enhance memory, but cannot prevent or reverse it.
It has also been observed that history or head injury or trauma may increase the risk of disease. Micro-strokes such as punching the boxers briefly in the head also increase the risk.
(Dr. Shamsher Dwivedi, President Neurosciences and Director Clinical Services at Vimhans Nayati Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi)
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