DEMENTIA (Abnormal Loss of Memory)
About 50 million people across the world have dementia, an umbrella term for a series of neurodegenerative conditions that cause memory loss. However, scientists say that they are unsure exactly what causes this condition
But, a newly published prevention guideline from World Health Organization (WHO) evaluates 12 risk factors and offers advice on how to tackle the 12 things. These conditions can become severe and impair a person's ability to continue normal daily activities
The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer's Disease, which affects about 5.8 million people in United States alone. WHO has on record that the the high number of people living with forms of Dementia has rendered dementia research a worldwide priority and that as a result, they now have a good idea of what risk factors may contribute to it's development. Some of these factors are lifestyle related and as such are modifiable
Therefore, with adequate information, people may be able to able to learn how to adapt their lifestyles to become healthier and lower the risks of developing various health related conditions including dementia.
Dementia (Alzheimer's Disease)
Recently (May 2019), WHO published a new set of guidelines that seek to advise government, policy makers and health care providers on how best to tackle dementia
Let's compare Normal Brain with the brain of someone with Alzeheimer disease ( a major cause of Dementia)
Before we review the WHO guidelines let's take a look on this condition, It is expedient to note that it is a rapidly growing public health problem. It is an illness characterized by a deterioration in cognitive function (i.e the ability to process a thought) beyond what might be expected from normal ageing. It affects memory, thinking, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement. It results from variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzeheimer disease and stroke.
It is a major cause of disability and dependency among order people.. In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple.Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing.
The New World Health Organization (WHO) lists of risk factors that increase the chance of developing Dementia
- Low level of physical activity (i.e lack of exercise)
- A poor diet
- Alcohol misuse
- Impaired or insufficient cognitive reserve ( already existing brain disorder)
- Lack of social activity
- Unhealthy weight gain
- Uncontrolled Hypertension
9. Uncontrolled Diabetes mellitus
- Dyslipidemia ( unhealthy cholesterol levels)
- Hearing loss
Most of the above risk factors are modifiable and careful adherence to health care advice can lower the risks of Dementia.
Additional comments on Dementia
- It is a chronic and progressive disease. In other words it can only get worse.
- The disease process can only be slowed down but not stopped or reversed entirely.
- People with Dementia usually have a smaller brain size when compared to a contemporary.
- Adhering to the above guidelines ( quitting smoking, , reducing alcohol intake, diabetes and hypertension control, cholesterol level regulation etc) may help in slowing down the disease process.
- Prepare a living will when you notices any features of dementia like recurrent memory loss, problem with thinking process, calculation, judgement, learning and comprehension. A will prepared with sane mind is recognized by a competent court of law
- Indulging in activities that task the brain is worthwhile and can slow disease process. Such activities include continuous reading, playing games etc
Advice to the caregivers/ Family members/Health care professionals
- Show empathy to the individual with Dementia
- Putting them in foster homes might help
- Understand the disease process and know how to help these individuals
- Dementia is not diabolical in nature