Bengaluru: With over four million people in India suffering from some or other form of dementia and around 35,000 suffering from the debilitating condition in Bengaluru alone, doctors say it is time the city was made Alzheimer-friendly to help their integration into society at large. The onset of Alzheimer’s is slow and gradually worsens as the person ages. Experts point out that most people are afraid or embarrassed to talk to those with dementia and this severely isolates them, making their lives very difficult.
“There is a lot of stigma attached to the disease. By creating more public awareness and greater understanding of the disease among the patients and their caregivers, we can fight this stigma and make our cities Alzheimer-friendly,” says Dr Vijay Janagama, director, New Initiatives, SuVitas Holistic Healthcare.
Explaining that Alzheimer’s is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease characterised by deposition of abnormal proteins in the neurons of the brain, Dr. Anitha, consultant, psychiatry, Aster CMI Hospital, says there is no cure for most forms of dementia presently. But early and accurate diagnosis can pave way for better management of the illness and its course.
“Studies show that hypertension, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of mind stimulation tend to worsen outcomes in dementia,” she reveals. After 65 years of age, the prevalence doubles every five years, according to Dr Amit Kulkarni, lead consultant neurologist and stroke specialist, Sagar Hospitals. “The diagnosis is mainly clinical using a good history and neurological and cognitive assessment. MRI and functional neuro-imaging like PET can assist in making it too,” he says.
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