Alzheimer's disease reaches 35 million worldwide
On Monday, the WHO and ADI (Alzheimer’s Disease International) released a report on the current state of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. At the present time, Alzheimer’s disease has reached 35 million worldwide. The number is at epidemic proportions. WHO and ADI have declared that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease be a health priority in the world and they are encouraging nations to do the same.
With the news release on Monday, current numbers of the impact of the disease were also released. In the United States alone, there are 5 million people that are affected by Alzheimer’s. One in eight over the age of 65 have it, and 1 out of 2 over the age of 85 have it. The forecast for the future is daunting. The numbers are expected to more than double in the next 20 years, reaching 65.7 million by the year 2030. By the year 2050, the number will be an astounding 115.4 million. It is important to remember that these are not just numbers, these are real people.
Recommendations for nations include declaring Alzheimer’s disease a national health priority. The Alzheimer’s Disease International has resources to assist with making plans for the future. Plans must include how to care for the progressive disease and to provide services for the 35 million people worldwide who have it now, and to provide services for the affected people in the coming years.
Along with the current and expected increase of Alzheimer’s disease is the call for recognizing the disease early. Medications used to treat Alzheimer’s are only effective to a certain point so the earlier the diagnosis, the earlier care can be initiated.
The Alzheimer’s Disease International lists ten early symptoms of dementia. These are:
* Memory loss
* Difficulty in performing everyday tasks
* Problems with language
* Disorientation to time and place
* Poor or decreased judgment
* Problems with keeping track of things
* Misplacing things
* Changes in mood or behavior
* Changes in personality
* Loss of initiative
The ADI and the WHO are especially concerned about the disease in countries where there are very little resources to care for the affected person, not to mention the lack of professionals qualified to diagnose and treat the disease. The call to make plans for the future includes ways the world can get to these areas of the world where the need is tremendous. Alzheimer’s disease is no respecter of nationality or race. It affects all.
Interventions that may help include medication, information, and education of both the person and the caregivers. This is imperative to good care for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can be debilitating not only on the person with the disease, but also the caregivers. Support and training should be given to them as well.
If you suspect you, a family member or a loved one may have Alzheimer’s, call your physician. Some cases of dementia are caused by acute infections, such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia. Once these are cleared up, then the signs of dementia reverse. However, only a doctor can determine the cause of the dementia and the intended course for treatment.
Written by Jenny Decker
Exclusive to eMaxHealth