Alzheimer’s Disease – Why Are We Silent About It? – Dr Prabha Adhikari

Alzheimer’s Disease – Why Are We Silent About It? – Dr Prabha Adhikari

Mangaluru: As part of the “World Alzheimer’s Month” projects which started on 1 September and culminates on 21 September, a talk on ” Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders. Why are we silent about this?” was held at the AJ Shetty Medical College, here on September 16. The resource person was Dr Prabha Adhikari M R Professor of Internal Medicine at Yenepoya Medical College-Derlakatte, and Former HOD Medicine-Kasturba Medical College, Mangaluru.

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The city of Mangaluru has taken its First step towards a “Dementia Friendly City” with the theme “Remember Me”, while launching the “World Alzheimer’s Month-September 2016” to raise awareness of Dementia and Challenge stigma, in association with ‘PAGE’. “Alzheimer’s is an ailment which in simple language, takes one away from the reality of the present situation. Normally it is associated with forgetfulness. It is not just simple forgetfulness. It is an inability to relate the past to the present. In the final stages one no more recognises one’s own family, he or she lives with, mistakenly takes the kitchen for the toilet or any other such gross discrepancies.They say that Dementia has no cure, but a lot can be achieved by proper care and awareness projects organised by these concerned organisations, who have come forward to the rescue of the Dementia affected people.” said Dr Adhikari in her opening remarks.

She further said, “Today while Alzheimer’s is spreading fast, we have to find means of avoiding it by keeping the mind active, playing indoor games, solving crossword puzzles and other such, without getting alarmed over forgetfulness of immediate things which comes with ageing. At the same time, the past is almost indelibly written in the memory. We must keep our minds active and receptive at all times. Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. This disease knows no social, economic or ethnic boundaries. Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.”

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“What is Dementia? It is a disease of the brain with the death of nerve cells in the brain and its connections. Although it starts with memory loss, as the disease spreads to other parts of the brain, the individual looses his ability to speak, understand, calculate, judge, and slowly changes the person and his personality beyond recognition. In its final stages, the disease affects his ability to speak, eat, bathe, walk or self-care completely that he becomes totally dependent. The individual suffers from a lot of depression, anxiety and fear at early stages ,abnormal behaviour, hallucinations with aggression at middle stage.There are a lot of behavioural changes too”, added Dr Adhikari.

“The caregiver will suffer much more than the patient and will need a lot of support and anxiety. It may completely change a dignified elderly beyond recognition .This not only distresses the patient but also the loved ones who will have to struggle to manage such a patient and try and keep up the dignity of the individual for nearly 7-10 years. Alzheimer`s Disease is a type of Dementia named after the German doctor who described the disease. Dementia is a slow disease. It takes 6-10 years to progress from one stage to the other. It is a progressive disease. During this World Alzheimer’s Month, we are trying to bring awareness about this disease through various programmes in trying to improve the quality of life of those suffering from dementia and their Carers. Your support is very much solicited”, concluded Dr Prabha Adhikari.

Er Jeradin D’Souza-the Founder of Mangalore Alzheimer’s Association and active board member of PAGE in his closing remarks said,” Among the many types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is around 60 to 70 %, caregiving becomes the main area of approach, as the medical field has not yet found a cure for this family shattering affliction. Although it is not curable, early diagnosis has interventions that can keep them active and independent much longer. And to bring much awareness about this disease we have chalked out various projects during the World Alzheimer’s Month. Your support and patronage are very much needed in our efforts to make Mangaluru Dementia Friendly. Thank you all for your great support”. Er Jeradin’s witty speech was enjoyed and applauded by the house-packed student audience.

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Prizes were given to the medical students who won in the Dementia Slogan Writing contest. Dr Jayaram S-Medical Superintendent of AJ Medical College welcomed the gathering, Dr Pradeep delivered the vote of thanks, while Dr Anusha compered the programme.

PAGE invites you all for the Valedictory Ceremony of “World Alzheimer’s Month” on 21 September 2016 at Town Hall- Mangaluru at 9 am.

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