Only symptoms of memory loss cannot justify diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

The condition is poorly understood despite significant research

New Delhi, 11th April 2018: Alzheimer’s disease needs to be diagnosed using biological clues rather than symptom of memory loss, according to experts. Although this condition affects about 44 million people around the world, it is very poorly understood, with no effective treatments despite billions of dollars spent on research. The need of the hour, therefore, is to raise awareness and educate people.

A new approach has been proposed that would test for Alzheimer’s based on some new biomarkers and the fact that the disease runs on a spectrum that takes root long before symptoms appear, sometimes even for decades. Biomarkers are already widely used in medicine to diagnose people with high blood pressure, diabetes and bone density problems — and to reduce the likelihood of heart attack, stroke and bone fractures.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative brain ailment that affects memory, behavior and thinking to the point where the person afflicted may not even be able to recall any events from the past; including something that happened a few moments ago. Memory loss that comes with age is not due to that factor alone but also because a person may not be exercising the brain enough in the senior years. It is important to stay active by participating in activities that keep the mind and body sharp. This can ward off memory loss.”

Although Alzheimer’s generally occurs in people over the age of 65, it does and has affected people even in their 40s and 50s. This situation is called early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “A non-drug strategy should always be the first option. Medication for elder patients should be tailored carefully. This includes considering parameters such as the choice of drug, how long it should be continued, etc. Some other things that need to be kept in mind are an individual’s symptoms and circumstances, particularly in case of people with Type 2 diabetes.”

HCFI tips to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Check your waistline.
  • Eat mindfully. Place emphasis on colorful, vitamin–packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes as protein sources plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes too.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for 2½ to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.
  • Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, keep a watch on your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar numbers.