Prevention of alzheimers disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder which affects the elderly population. It is a long-standing disorder that is characterized by gradually progressing disturbances in the normal functions of the brain such as memory, decision-making, judgement and orientation to the physical surroundings.1 The risk of developing this disorder increases as the age advances. Alzheimer’s disease is noted to be more common in women.2 The affected individuals are unable to perform their day-to-day activities, lose their ability to move around as the disease progresses. It has been also been denoted as the commonest cause of dementia (loss of memory).
The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in India was found to be between 0.1 and 1 per 1000 individuals in the age group 65–70 years, while it was about 1–5% in individuals between the age group of 80 and 95 years3. Further studies are being conducted to identify the exact incidence and the risk factors specific to Indian population.
Alzheimer’s disease is named after a German doctor, Alois Alzheimer who first noticed the changes in the brain tissues of a woman who had died of some unknown cause in 1906. These changes are still considered while diagnosing the disorder.
Is It Possible to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex degenerative disorder that results from the interaction of various risk factors. No individual factor has been pointed out that can be avoided to prevent the occurrence. However, as the changes observed in the brain of individuals are due to certain oxidative processes and antioxidative agents that have been tried with some success. Individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease are advised to take some antioxidatives along with vitamin B12 supplementations.
A balanced low fat diet that includes enough amounts of fruits with antioxidants may be beneficial in improving the general health. Avoidance of smoking, performing moderate exercises daily and avoiding exposure to harmful toxins are also recommended to improve the health and may be beneficial in preventing the occurrence of the disorder or reduce the severity of the symptoms.4.
1.Nussbaum RL and Ellis CE. Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease. N Engl J Med. 2003; 348: 1356–1364.
2.Friedlander AH, Norman DC, M.E, Norman, KM, Yagiela, JA. et al. Alzheimer’s disease: Psychopathology, medical management and dental implications. J Am Dent Assoc. 2006; 137(9): 1240-1251.
3.Chandra V, Pandav R, Dodge HH, Johnston JM, Belle SH, DeKosky ST, et al. Incidence of Alzheimer's disease in a rural community in India. Neurology. 2001; 57: 985–989.
4.Kedar NP. Can we prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease? J Postgrad Med. [serial online] [cited 2008 Jan 21]; 2003; 49: 236–245. Available at: http://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2003/49/3/236/1140