Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that impairs memory as well as other mental functions. Since it brings the person to the point of being unable to maintain his daily life, it is of interest to those around him. On the other hand, the aging of the world population shows that Alzheimer’s disease will become an even more important social problem in the coming years.
Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital Neurology Specialist Assoc. Dr. Burcu Örmeci states that dementia , which is popularly defined as dementia , is thought of as a natural consequence of aging, that the relatives of the patient ignore the early signs of the disease for a while by finding other excuses, or that the reasons such as lack of knowledge points out that it delayed the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s .
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions in society about dementia (dementia) and Alzheimer’s. Assoc. Dr. Burcu Örmeci told about Pudra.com readers.
Myth 1: Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the same concepts.
Indeed: Alzheimer’s and dementia (dementia) syndrome are two concepts that are often confused. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is also a type of dementia. So the word dementia is a broad concept. Diseases other than Alzheimer’s disease are also included in this concept. For example, dementia associated with vascular diseases (dementia), Pick’s disease dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, etc.
Many other diseases are gathered under the umbrella of dementia (dementia). Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of all dementias, with a rate of 60-70%.
Myth 2: Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease means forgetting. Anyone with forgetfulness is a candidate for dementia.
To be honest : Many people today complain of forgetfulness. Very few of them are diagnosed with dementia. In dementia, many symptoms occur in addition to forgetfulness due to the deterioration of other functions of the brain. In other words, besides forgetting, language and perception disorders, personality changes, reasoning disorders, and disability are also seen.
Symptoms that develop with Alzheimer’s, such as forgetting the names of people or places they live with, being alienated from the place they live in, or not being able to find rooms and toilets, not being able to reason and take initiative, bring the person to the point of not being able to live alone over time.
However, the real problem for most people who suffer from forgetfulness today is the attention deficit caused by concentration and the inability to record the resulting information. In fact, it is not a real forgetfulness. The person searches for information that he has not already recorded, cannot find or remember. In this case, he thinks he forgot.
Forgetfulness in the concept of dementia is the irreversible loss of previously recorded and used information. There is no subsequent recall for this information. Re-learning lost knowledge is also often not possible.
Myth 3: There is no cure for dementia.
Truth: Many diseases within the concept of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease do not have a clear cure for today. However, some vitamin deficiencies or dementias due to medications, some cerebral hemorrhages or increased water content in the brain can be treated. Thus, the patient can return to his old self. The most important point for all of these treatable causes is early treatment before dementia (dementia) is permanent.
Myth 4: Alzheimer’s disease occurs only with the elderly, it is a natural consequence of aging.
Truth: Alzheimer’s disease is a problem that increases with age, but it does not occur in everyone who gets older. As long as the person is healthy, the memory works fully. Forgetfulness that causes disability is not a natural process of aging. Dementia (dementia) may also occur in young and middle-aged people. These are called early-onset dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic factors are determinant in early-onset dementias. It contains hereditary features. If there is a person diagnosed with early-onset dementia (dementia) in the family, the genetic risk increases.
Myth 5: Alzheimer’s disease is a genetic disease and is inherited. If there is a diagnosed person in the family, the risk increases for everyone in the family.
Indeed: Genetics contributes very little to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental factors (toxic gases, radioactivity, infectious agents, artificially added foods, etc.) and other diseases are risk factors. The genetic risk increases as the number of people diagnosed in the family increases or the age at diagnosis gets younger. If there is only one person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the family and the age of diagnosis is over 65, the genetic risk is almost the same as the population.
Myth 6: Prolonged exposure to aluminum products increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Indeed: There is no scientific data that is definitive proof on this subject. Although there are a few studies that have been done, they are not sufficient to establish a definite cause-effect relationship. However, like all other metals and heavy metals, aluminum is among the environmental risk factors.
Myth 7: It is possible to prevent Alzheimer’s disease if diagnosed early.
Truth: Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease with medication today. However, measures can be taken to reduce the risk.
Mediterranean type diet, regular physical activities, good social life, continuous learning and cognitive activities, good sleep, good treatment compliance with chronic diseases reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the disease may have started as early as 10 years ago, but it may have taken time to become clinically noticeable.
False 8 Traumas to the head such as accidents lay the groundwork for Alzheimer’s disease.
Honestly: The risk here is chronic trauma to the head, as with boxers. Chronic trauma causes brain cells to slowly die over time. When the amount of dead cells exceeds a certain level, dementia occurs. Memory problems that occur after a single, severe trauma are not called dementia. In this case, the diagnosis is made as post-traumatic brain injury.
Myth 9: Alzheimer’s disease causes the patient’s character to change, to become more aggressive.
Truth: Although partially true, the opposite is sometimes seen. It is also observed that very angry and aggressive people can be docile and calm. Changes in personality structure may be the earliest finding, especially in some dementias. But the problem here is that it is absolutely permanent and progressive. Temporary temperament and temperament changes are a normal process that can happen to anyone. Therefore, the distinction must be made well.
Myth 10: Life with Alzheimer’s disease is not possible.
The truth: Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that shortens life in the long run, but the patient can stay in society and social life for many years. The disease can be kept under control for a long time with supportive treatments that will increase the patient’s quality of life.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that requires both the patient and their relatives to be together and in treatment. However, in a family with Alzheimer’s disease, the quality of life, social status, jobs and health of the individuals must be taken into consideration. Only the patient should be prioritized and adults and especially children in productive age should not be neglected.