"In Mumbai alone, we have 40,000 Alzheimer's Disease affected even today, if 10 lakhs is the population of 60+.
Kerala is the only state that has displayed progressive commitment to the welfare of the aged. It has 30 social security and welfare schemes to date, such as Schemes for the destitute old, pension schemes, workers security schemes, etc.
Mild forgetfulness could be an early symptom. But most people with mild forgetfulness do not have the disease. As disease advances, forgetfulness begins to interfere with daily activities. People in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease may forget how to do simple tasks like brushing their teeth or combing their hair. They can no longer think clearly. They can fail to recognize familiar people and places. They begin to have problems speaking, understanding, reading, or writing. Later on, people with Alzheimer’s disease may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, patients need total care.
An early, accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care while the patient can still take part in making decisions. Early diagnosis will also offer the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.
Doctors can only make a diagnosis of ‘possible’ or ‘probable’ Alzheimer’s disease. At specialized centers, doctors can diagnose the disease correctly up to 90 per cent of the time. Doctors use several tools to diagnose ‘probable’ Alzheimer’s disease, including:
- questions about the person’s general health, past medical problems, and ability to carry out daily activities
- tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language
- medical tests-- such as tests of blood, urine, or spinal fluid, and
- brain scans
Sometimes these test results help the doctor find other possible causes of the person’s symptoms. For example, thyroid problems, drug reactions, depression, brain tumors, and blood vessel disease in the brain can cause AD-like symptoms. Some of these other conditions can be treated successfully.
Alzheimer’s disease is a slow disease, starting with mild memory problems and ending with severe brain damage. The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person. On average, patients live from eight to 10 years after they are diagnosed, though some people may live with the disease for as many as 20 years.
No treatment can stop Alzheimer’s disease. However, for some people in the early and middle stages of the disease, the drugs terrine (Cognacs), donepezil (Precept), rivastigmine (Exeo), or glutamine (Reading, previously known as Romany) may help prevent some symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time. Another drug, meantime (Named), has been approved to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, although it also is limited in its effects. Also, some medicines may help control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety and depression. Treating these symptoms often makes patients more comfortable and makes their care easier for caregivers.
The patient’s family
Most often spouses and other family members provide the day-to-day care for people with Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease gets worse, people often need more and more care. This can be hard for caregivers and can affect their physical and mental health, family life, job and finances".
Mr Sailesh Mishra, founder of the Silver Innings Foundation.