Eastern Mediterranean University Dr. Fazil Küçük Faculty of Medicine member of teaching staff Assoc. Prof. Dr. Amber Eker Bakkaloğlu provided useful information on the subject “Forgetfulness, Dementia and Alzheimer; recognising the syptoms to prevent the risk”. In her statements the following was noted:
“Are Forgetfulness, Dementia and Alzheimer the same thing?”
Forgetfulness is a symptom that can be frequently seen at all ages. It should be noted that being forgetful is not the same as dementia. Forgetfulness in people a majority of the time can be down to a number of reasons, such as lack of the B12 vitamin, Thyroid problems and depression, that are all treatable conditions.
Initially, the causes that can be treated in people with forgetfulness should be reviewed. In order for forgetfulness to be called dementia, there must be cognitive losses present that affect the daily life and activities of individuals. As in any society, people suffering from forgetfulness in our society are most worried about Alzheimer's disease. These concerns are best resolved by recognizing the disease. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease incidences have been increasing over the years with aging societies, and are a major public health problem today. It occurs in one out of every 8 people over the age of 65 and in almost one out of every two people over the age of 85
What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?
In addition to memory problems in Alzheimer's disease, difficulties in dressing, eating, using tools, skills gained in normal life, personality and behavioral changes, disorder in understanding language and speaking, not finding their way, not being able to calculate, introversion and living dreams symptoms can also be observed. Being familiar with these symptoms is very important in early diagnosis of the disease, as we know that early diagnosis and treatment contribute positively to the course of the disease
Who are at Risk?
The most important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is age. The presence of dementia in the family may also increase this risk. Although these are uncontrolled risk factors, another issue that should be kept in mind is that there are risk factors that we are able to control. Dementia is easier and can develop earlier in people with a low educational level, or in people who suffer from intense vascular risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity. It is very important to avoid these risk factors that we can control.
Is Treatment Available?
There is no definitive treatment for Alzheimer's disease; however the progression can be slowed down. Currently used drugs for Alzheimer's patients are aimed at increasing the hormones involved in the communication and memory between nerve cells and slowing the rate of cell loss for this very purpose. Newly developed and studied drugs aim to prevent the accumulation of bad proteins that build up in brain cells and cause premature death of the cells. However, it should be remembered that it is possible to control the behavioral changes and depression that may occur during the dementia process with drugs.
What Advice can be given to People Close to Dementia Sufferers?
The dementia process, which is a progressive process with new symptoms appearing as time passes, can sometimes be very challenging for the relatives of the patient with difficulties experienced relating to the patients care. Dealing with all of this can be frustrating for anyone. It is important to get support from your relatives and to distribute tasks within the family during these difficult days. Routines we do in our daily life without realising can be difficult for dementia patients. Help your patient, but try not to do everything for them as much as possible. Form short and simple sentences when communicating with them and when you start speaking, first make sure you have their attention. It should always be kept in mind that they are still the same person you loved very much; there are only behavioral changes due to illness. These behaviors are not intentional or wanted on their behalf.