Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Alarming Facts about the Disease and the Impact on Race and Gender

The difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is that the latter is actually a general term (including Alzheimer’s disease) for memory loss and other conditions of intellectual disability.  Compared to what people think, Alzheimer’s disease is not the only condition that causes dementia. Other ailments such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease can also cause dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease can happen to anyone and no, it’s not the outcome of aging – some people as young as in their 40s can suffer from Alzheimer’s disease too.

African Americans and Hispanics have more to fear from Alzheimer’s than their Caucasian counterparts, according to a new report released by the Alzheimer’s Association. The report places the likelihood of developing AD and other dementias at two times more likely than whites for African Americans and one and one-half times more likely for Hispanics.www.usmedicine.com/articles/racial-disparities-among-alzheimer-patients-cause-concern.htm

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and research is ongoing to find effective ways to treat the symptoms and prevent the condition from occurring or worsening. Not many people are aware of the disease (or any form of dementia) and the lack of knowledge gives rise to a rather confused attitude.

Causes & Effects of Alzheimer's Disease/Dementia

To date, the absolute cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)is still unknown and researches regard that several key factors may be the reason for its occurrence. One of the main causes of the disease is genetic and it is found that defect in one of the three genes, namely, amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1, and presenilin-2 found in chromosomes, should be blamed in such cases.

A gene that controls the production of APP itself is the second genetic risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease. The abnormality in the production causes the amyloid to form clumps, as a result of which it fails to metabolize properly within the body. As the progression grows, pieces of these clumps connect to each other and block transmission of neural impulses within the brain.

Environmental properties can also be a key factor and researchers have found that certain elements, such as, aluminium, zinc, toxins in contaminated food, and certain viruses are culprits in causing the disease.

You may also be at risk if you have suffered from head injury and hardly engaging yourself in activities which involve thinking and memory.

The stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Within Alzheimer’s disease there are seven stages with distinct characteristic ranging with no impairment detected in Stage 1 to very severe cognitive decline in Stage 7.  Although different people suffer the condition at varying rate, the stages can be useful to track the progression of the disease.

The effect caused by Alzheimer’s disease is tragic as at the final stage when you are not able to do anything by yourself makes you more open to accidents and injuries. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading disease that causes death in America, and the cost of taking care of the sufferers can be as high as $200 billion.

Preventative measures Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia

You can’t alter any factors related to Alzheimer’s disease, such as sex and heredity, but you can undertake several preventative measures to delay and perhaps prevent the onset of the disease altogether. A nutritious diet with a healthy lifestyle won’t fail to protect you not just from Alzheimer’s disease but also from other forms of dementia.

Try some natural remedies to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Chinese herbs like Huperzia serata and Gingko biloba are proven beneficial in increasing your brain activity, memory retention, clear – headedness, and language ability.

Challenge your brain with crossword puzzles and other brain-engaging activities to stimulate the brain and keep it active.

 

Proportion of Americans Aged 55 and Older with Cognitive Impairment, by Race/Ethnicity, Health and Retirement Study, 2006*

http://bigthink.com/ideas/race-gender-and-alzheimers-disease

Estimated Lifetime Risks for Alzheimer’s by Age and Sex*

http://bigthink.com/ideas/race-gender-and-alzheimers-disease

Note:  The following information and statistics are taken from http://www.alz.co.uk/research/statistics

As of 2010, there are an estimated 35.6 million people with dementia worldwide. This number will nearly double every 20 years, to an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and 115.4 million in 2050. Much of the increase will be in developing countries. Already 58% of people with dementia live in developing countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 71%. The fastest growth in the elderly population is taking place in China, India, and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbours.

Demographic ageing is a worldwide process that shows the successes of improved health care over the last century. Many are now living longer and healthier lives and so the world population has a greater proportion of older people. Dementia mainly affects older people, although there is a growing awareness of cases that start before the age of 65. By 2050, people aged 60 and over will account for 22% of the world's population, with four-fifths living in Asia, Latin America or Africa.

There are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year, implying that there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world every four seconds.

 http://www.alz.co.uk/research/statistics

If Alzheimer’s disease is indeed preventable we should do whatever it takes to become aware of the facts and do what we can to stop it from invading the mass as well as to ensure that our aging relatives can live their lives to the fullest.

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