September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and today (21 September) is World Alzheimer’s Day. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in the UK, affecting 62 per cent of those diagnosed.
850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, affecting one in 14 people over 65, and one in six over 80. It is estimated that this will rise to over 1 million by 2025. The condition affects memory, thinking skills and other mental abilities.
— Alzheimer Scotland (@alzscot) September 4, 2018
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s are unknown, however it’s linked to ageing, family history, untreated depression and lifestyle choices. It can often be hard to diagnose, as it progresses slowly, making it difficult to detect symptoms. Because it is not known exactly why Alzheimer’s is caused, it’s hard to know how to prevent it, but medical professionals advise that cutting down on smoking and alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet and regular exercise are good prevention methods, and improve overall mental health too.
The first sign of Alzheimer’s is usually minor memory loss, including forgetting recent conversations and events, or the names of places and objects. As the condition develops, further symptoms can include:
- disorientation and getting lost in familiar planes
- problems with speech
- personality changes, such as becoming more aggressive or hostile
- low mood or anxiety
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but medication is available to help relieve some of the symptoms. Treatment can also include psychological therapies, such as cognitive simulation therapy, to improve memory, speech and language and problem solving skills.
From 22 – 30 September, Alzheimer Scotland is hosting Memory Walks to raise money to provide essential support to those living with Alzheimer’s. The funds raised will be put towards the expansion of local Dementia Resource Centres and community groups, to try and reduce isolation. Money will also go to dementia advisors, allowing them to keep working with those diagnosed and their families; the 24-hour helpline and research centres.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Alzheimer’s Research UK