remember the signs

An incurable disease that affects cognitive abilities and short-term memory, Alzheimer’s disease needs to be diagnosed quickly. Family and friends should seek help at the first signs, which ensures correct treatment and improves the patient’s quality of life. The alert is due to the trend of increasing cases with the aging of the population.

The call for increased attention comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Alzheimer’s Association. According to the WHO, 55 million people live with some form of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. However, the global figures could reach 74.7 million in 2030. In Brazil, there are 1.2 million patients, with 100,000 new cases per year.

Only a doctor, with the help of examinations, can certify the condition, but care must be taken in certain situations, especially after 60 years. “The individual begins to forget things, such as the names of grandchildren, begins to repeat the same question several times, cannot learn new things,” said neurologist Silvio Pessanha Neto, director of the Institute of medical education (Idomed).

The specialist explains that the disease is manifested by a dysfunction in which certain neurons – precisely those responsible for memory – begin to die.

“It’s very important because the earlier the diagnosis is made, the doctor can treat it better, start treating the patient to reduce the rate at which neurons start to die. Then you improve the quality of life and the patient’s prognosis improves a lot,” Pessanha assesses.

Researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Marcus Tulius reinforces the improvement in the quality of life after early treatment, even for the family, who is preparing, knowing that the disease will progress in the future. “Drugs slow this development.”

There is no proven effective prevention. It consists of keeping an active physical and mental activity, reading a lot, writing, doing crosswords, puzzles. Physical exercise is proven to be beneficial for prevention and treatment.

For orthopedist and sports medicine specialist André Siqueira, regular physical activity, such as walking, not only protects against certain risk factors for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes, but also benefits reasoning speed, helps maintain memory and helps prevent cognitive decline.

Recent studies link Alzheimer’s disease to other illnesses, and for this reason, taking care of your overall health can delay the development of the disease.

“We now know that Alzheimer’s disease is closely linked to diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and depression. So if you deal with these situations early, it decreases the risk of older people, when they develop Alzheimer’s disease,” adds Marcus Tulius.

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