Brazilian Natural Medicine

Health reinforces the importance of early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease to prevent rapid progression of the disease — Português (Brazil)

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Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative and progressive disease, caused by the death of brain cells and which causes the loss of cognitive functions, such as memory, language, planning and visual-spatial skills. This Wednesday (21), World Alzheimer’s Day and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Day, the Ministry of Health reinforces the importance of early diagnosis to prevent rapid progression, increasing people’s awareness of warning signs.

Recent data from the Ministry of Health indicate that the prevalence in people aged 65 or over corresponds to more than half of the cases. It is estimated that about 1.2 million people live with some form of dementia in Brazil. The first symptoms may appear a few years before drawing the attention of family members, but they are very punctual, such as simple forgetting, changing names, repeating the same story and changes in behavior. Recent memory loss is the main warning sign.

As it is a progressive disease, the symptoms increase over time and begin to cause irritability, language failures, and impairment in the ability to orient oneself in space and time. In the most severe cases, there is a loss of ability to perform everyday tasks. The disease can also be accompanied by depression, anxiety and apathy. Therefore, the sooner you seek medical diagnosis, through a neurologist, the greater the chances of delaying the process and preventing the rapid evolution of Alzheimer’s.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of the characteristic clinical picture and the exclusion of other causes of dementia, in addition to laboratory and brain imaging tests.

Treatment

Although there is still no specific treatment, there are methods that alleviate the problem. Drug treatment aims to stabilize cognitive impairment, behavior and the performance of activities of daily living (or modify the manifestations of the disease), with a minimum of adverse effects.

There are also cognitive rehabilitation, occupational therapy, control of high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, in addition to regular physical activity and multidisciplinary disciplinary care (neurology, internal medicine, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and nutrition), all offered free of charge by the SUS.

Prevention

Well-established risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are age and family history (risk increases with increasing numbers of affected first-degree relatives).

Studies show that the risk of Alzheimer’s is higher among women because they live longer, but the disease is also quite common among men. There is no way to say if it is hereditary, although some families have more than one case and it is an important risk factor.

Simple measures can be taken to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of disease, such as exercising the brain by learning new things and studying, having a healthy social life, sleeping well, eating well, exercising, going to the doctor regularly, not smoking and avoiding consumption. of alcohol and other drugs.

Ministry of Health



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