Health & Wellness

All you Need to Know About Alzheimer

Dr. Jacob Roy Kuriakose, Chairman, Alzheimer’s Disease International, explains the illness.

Has there been any significant breakthrough in research on curing or preventing Alzheimer’s?

Despite the fact that Alzheimer’s disease has been described as a disease entity more than 100 years ago, we still don’t know the actual cause.  Although extensive research has been going on in several countries in the West, investing billions of dollars, the progress in finding the cause and cures have been slow.  However we know the risk factors: they are smoking, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise, fat food, head injury, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, lack of social engagement etc.

What is the general effect of Alzheimer’s on the family of the patient?

It has a profound impact on the family, particularly on the closer relatives. In fact, many a time, a family member bears the brunt of the disease, while the affected person is mostly oblivious of what is happening around.  There is lot of stigma attached to dementia. So friends and relatives avoid the family. Financially it could be a big drain. In most cases, primary caregivers have to forego their job to dedicate all the time for care-giving as the disease progress. Generally women tend to get the disease more than men, for reasons not well known.

How do caregivers cope with looking after the patient?

Caring for a person with dementia is an extremely demanding situation.  It is a 24 hours, 365 days a year job, so taxing that the person hardly gets any rest. Because of ignorance, people around may even accuse them of not doing enough for the person with dementia.  Unless the whole family comes round and shares the responsibility the carers may break down. They are certainly quite prone for depression.

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