Talk delivered by Mr Shiv Kumar Varma on the occasion of
UN Day Celebrations on 26 October 2014 at UNDP Conference Hall,
55 Lodhi Estate, New Delhi
Distinguished Chief Guest and friends,
I delivered a Talk on Alzheimer’s Disease on 21 September on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day at the Annual General Body Meeting of Rajouri Garden Retired Persons Association, New Delhi. This was very well received by the participants. and I thought I should share this with you also.
Let me make it clear at the outset that I am not a doctor and I made an effort to collate facts and figures about this disease via internet and from the newspapers.
Allow me to give you brief information about this disease.
Alzheimer is a form of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior of a person, especially an elderly one. More than 44 million people are currently suffering worldwide from this disease, with nearly 4 million in India alone, which will go beyond 10 million by 2050.
This ailment is caused by loss of a specific chemical in the brain leading to long-term loss of ability to think and reason. This ailment does not merely affect a particular person but causes lot of problems for the whole family too when the patient becomes totally unfit to take care of himself.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s ?
1) Progressive loss of memory
2) Inability to find appropriate words to express oneself
3) Forgetfulness, especially names of persons and places
4) Behavioural problems like irritation and depression
5) Slowly getting cut off from social groups.
This disease is not curable but timely preventive precautions and treatment can slow down its onset. Instead of delaying consultation with doctors on the plea that this is due to advancing age or it will bring stigma to the family, it is important to start appropriate treatment at the earliest if above symptoms are seen in a person.
An important prevention to delay Alzheimer is to stay active –PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY and SOCIALLY – by taking the following steps:
• Eat low-fat simpe diet and increase intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts etc.
• Do regular physical exercises like walking and yoga. It is important to keep the body weight under check.
• Manage stress and go in for regular health check-ups to control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels
• Positive thinking and socializing especially with close friends.
• Indulge in some hobbies and new activities which will help in exercising the brain. It is recommended that elderly should spend some of their spare time doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku or even learning a new language.
These are a few effective ways by which a dreadful disease like Alzheimer’s can be kept at bay. It is estimated that there is somewhere in the world a new case of dementia every 4 seconds and 7.7 million new cases get added every year. As per a New York State Institute Study, by consuming walnuts regularly, one can reduce the risk, delay the onset, slow the progression of, or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
There are many types of tests to find out whether a person is suffering from Alzheimer or not. So, if you find that you have some of the symptoms I have mentioned, please consult your family doctor without much delay.