Kashmir Indepth

Alzheimer’s is a chronic, irreversible disease, say experts

World Alzheimer’s Day: DHSK organizes geriatric camp at SDH Pampore for screening of patients

Raouf Dar

Srinagar Sep 21 (KINS): As world celebrated Alzheimer’s Day, Directorate of Health Services Kashmir Wednesday organized a geriatric camp for screening of such patients and to create awareness about this disease.

Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease, most common in people over the age of 60, can majorly impact the quality of life of the person affected.  The most common form is dementia. It affects the brain cell which leads to memory loss, changes in memory, erratic behavior, and loss of body functions. Patients with Alzheimer’s suffer problems in concentration and making decisions. Usually, ignorance of the early symptoms leads to the worsening of the situation.

September 21 is observed as World Alzheimer’s Day every year. This day marks the importance of awareness and education for Alzheimer’s patients.

To raise awareness and to treat patients, on the directives of Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, a geriatric camp was held on Wednesday at SDH Pampore where people above 60-year of age were screened. Awareness was also created about this disease.

Experts said forgetting things, important dates or events, losing track of day, date, time and place, losing way to the house, difficulty while reading, unable to identify relatives and friends are common traits, especially in elderly people, and all these are signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Dr Saqiba Afzal, a geriatric care specialist, said Alzheimer’s shrinks the brain and causes the brain cells to die.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, irreversible disease that affects the cells of the brain and causes progressive memory loss, impaired thinking, disorientation, and changes in personality and mood,” Dr Saqiba said.

“About 3% of men and women in the age group of 65-74 have AD and nearly half of those aged 85 and older may have the disease. At least 3,60,000 new cases of AD are diagnosed each year,” the doctor said.

There are various risk factors to such patients including chronic high BP, head injuries, smoking and drinking and certain infections, Dr Saqiba added.

Five years before, family members of Hajra Begum, 60, noticed several changes in her behavior. She would often forget names and had trouble remembering people. However, within six-months, there was sudden change when she failed to recognize her family members. The panicked family members took her to a doctor and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Small changes in her personality that grew increasingly acute over the period of time.

“It got worse with long-term memory loss. Then came an increasing inability to reason, disorientation, confusion, and a lack of emotional control,” one of her family members said. (KINS)


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