This Wednesday, September 21, marks World Alzheimer’s Day., a disease that is the world’s leading cause of cognitive impairment and is the most common form of dementia. In Spain alone, this disease affects nearly 800,000 people, according to data from the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN)one of the greatest risk factors being age.
Every year they are diagnosed in Spain about 40,000 new cases of the disease, so visibility is essential to know exactly what this disease consists of.
“It is characterized by gradually and progressively producing the loss and death of neurons, which leads to the deterioration of cognitive functions, altering functional capacity and producing great disability and dependence,” andexplains in a statement Dr. Juan Fortea, Coordinator of the Behavior and Dementia Study Group of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN).
Leading cause of disability in old age
The specific and detailed cause of the disease is unknown. but everything seems to indicate that it has a multifactorial origin. “Different processes are involved, such as the accumulation of certain brain proteins, neuroinflammation, immunity, vascular or genetic changes, which predispose certain people to develop it,” they add in the SEN.
The disease evolves in a predictable way, but it is completely different in each person, depending on multiple factors, such as genetics, life habits or the age of the affected person.
In any case, Alzheimer’s is the “first cause of disability among the elderly in Spain”, and its figures continue to increase worryingly. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of people with the disease will rise to two million.
Warning signs of the disease
People with Alzheimer’s may experience problems with memory, behavior, or confusion, which would indicate that brain cells are failing. Thus, one of the first warning signs of the disease is the inability to remember new information.
Since Alzheimer’s Association recall what are the top 10 warning signs of the disease:
- Memory changes that make everyday life difficult.
- Difficulty planning, resolving conflicts, or concentrating.
- Inability or difficulty to perform usual tasks at home, at work or in your free time.
- Disorientation in time and place.
- Difficulty understanding visual images.
- Difficulty speaking, problems with language or writing.
- Placement of objects out of the usual place.
- Sudden changes of opinion or when making decisions.
- Loss of interest in activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
“Although age is the main risk factor for its development, it is important to note that this disease and its symptoms are not part of normal brain aging,” adds Dr. Juan Fortea. In fact, it may seem “normal” for an older person to experience memory problems over the years. “But this is a misconception that only helps Alzheimer’s disease is underdiagnosedwarns the expert.