Every year, people all over the world are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, one of the main causes of dementia. The high numbers raise concerns among specialists because this disease cannot be stopped or reversed with current treatments.
According to the CDC, the cases of Alzheimer’s will triple by 2060, meaning that 13.9 million American citizens will suffer from this disease. Other countries are also estimating that cases will triple or double in the upcoming decades.
What is Alzheimer’s and how to deal with the diagnosis
On September 21st, Alzeihmer’s Day was celebrated in order to raise awareness about the disease, as well as an early diagnosis to help the individuals and families affected by this illness.
Alzheimer’s disease occurs when the individual starts losing brain tissue and nerve cells, which happens due to the creation of plaques or tangles that block synaptic connections in the brain. Early symptoms of the disease are the loss of short-term memory, and difficulty with thinking, problem-solving or language.
Usually, families have problems diagnosing the disease because of social stigma, so as the misinterpretation of symptoms that are related to aging. People mainly over 65 and over start showing symptoms of the disease, so families confuse it with the aging process. Other symptoms of later stages include mood and behavioral change, emotional outburst, and struggling with already known tasks.
Once diagnosed, it is important to immediately seek a professional to study the case. Alzheimer’s still is a fairly unknown disease in several areas, so the disease can differ greatly from case to case. The earlier it can be diagnosed, the better care given to slow down the progress. Families and caregivers should also be conscious of how this disease will affect them over time and how to handle difficult situations.
Earlier diagnose can also help families with medication for the patient. They should check health plans and their finances to see what works best for them and how this might change over the years. There is a lot of misinformation about the disease, so seeking professional advice is the best option.
Dementia cases are rising
As earlier mentioned, the Center for Disease Control in the US has informed that Alzeihmer could triple in the country by 2060. One of the main problems that relate with this surge of cases is the fact that very few patients are diagnosed early. This is important for families that need to cope with these people daily.
The study also mentions that African Americans, Hispanics, and Non-Hispanic Whites are the most prevalent to suffer the disease, with Non-Hispanic Whites having the most total cases right now.
Other countries also report rising cases of Alzheimer’s. The UK believes their cases will rise from 850,000 to two million by 2051.
A known exam done in the 1960’s to teens was able to predict the possibilities of Alzeihmer’s. In the exam, called Project Talent, the individuals answered questions that ranged from general knowledge and academics to aspirations and a personality test. Teens that had lower scores in the exams had a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in their life.
Even though this type of exams is not precise, they could offer projected estimates of the disease, as well as the cost of medicines. With the alarming number of Alzheimer’s patients expected in the upcoming decades, these are valuable tools that could help individuals, families, and companies to find a solution for the prevention and diagnosis of the disease.