Don’t waste away

Alzheimer’s day Article Early signs

  • Disrupted sleep is perhaps the only sign of the disease that surfaces much ahead of the development of other cognitive signs like memory loss. Research has shown Alzheimer’s plaques can disrupt sleep, so can interrupted sleep promote the development of the former. Those with sleep efficiency lower than 75 per cent are five times more prone to have preclinical Alzheimer’s than the ones who sleep well.
  • Forgetting the same piece of information in spite of repeatedly checking on it could be a warning sign of the disease.
  • Inability to perform an otherwise familiar task is deemed to be another sign. For instance, it is natural for someone to seek help while cooking a new dish but if you have completely forgotten making your favourite recipe, then it isn’t common.
  • Sudden vision problems like difficulty to identify colours, shapes and distance between objects could indicate neural dysfunction.

The writer is Dr Vijay Janagama

Age not a factor

Alzheimer’s is no more an old man’s disease. Case reports indicate a decreasing onset of age. In spite of being home to more than 4 million patients, Alzheimer’s in India is still neither formally diagnosed nor treated. Most of us consider loss of memory as a natural sign of ageing and don’t associate it with a probable degenerative disorder. But what if the first signs of dementia start showing at a much younger age? Missing these signs can prove fatal. A proper awareness of the warning signs of the disease, necessary tests to confirm diagnosis and appropriate interventions to mitigate the condition if confirmed of the disease can help in tackling Alzheimer’s efficiently.

Cause: While concrete evidences are scarce to explain the reason behind early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, people with a parent or grandparent who also developed the disease early were found to have increased risks. Therefore, those with a family history of the disease are recommended to undergo a genetic counseling for an early diagnosis.

Diagnosis: Visible changes show in the body almost a decade after the actual damage to the brain has happened. While these symptoms may vary from person to person, recurrence of some commonly found signs can signal the early incidence of the disease. Once signs of mental decline are noticed in an individual, academic protocols will suggest him/her to undergo a series of cognitive tests, followed by testing the blood, urine and spinal fluid. A CT and MRI scan will confirm the incidence of Alzheimer’s and the extent of the damage caused to the brain.

Treatment: It is classified as one among the many incurable diseases. However, medical circles have seen positive results on patients who were introduced to the many available treatment options at an early stage.

The writer is Dr Vijay Janagama,, Director, New Initiatives, SuVitas Holistic Healthcare
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