“Prevention is essential to timely counteract the risk of Alzheimer’s“The doctor has no doubts Maria Cristina Gori, neurologist and psychotherapist, as well as scientific director of the course “Alzheimer’s disease. Therapeutic news and latest scientific discoveries – Pollicino” signed by Consulcesi, Italian leader in ECM training for the professions of the health sector. On the occasion of World Day ofAlzheimer’sthe expert reiterates the importance of early diagnosis before the disease degenerates to the point of becoming disabling for the patient and his family: “We have always known how much our habits and lifestyles affect the risk of developing diseases – explains the specialist -. Safeguarding our cognitive reserve is possible, but we know and we still do too little. We must not forget families and friends who have their lives turned upside down by an Alzheimer’s diagnosis“.
Doctor Gori, what is Alzheimer’s?
“Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. Specifically, it is a neurocognitive disorder that gradually inhibits the intellectual abilities of those affected until it interferes with the normal performance of daily activities”.
How does it manifest itself?
“The symptoms associated with this disease are manifold. Generally, Alzheimer’s manifests itself through impaired memory, language and spatial-temporal orientation. The most common symptom is certainly memory loss which can degenerate to the point of lead the patient to not even recognize his family members anymore “.
How is it possible to distinguish a cognitive decline, therefore linked to aging, from Alzheimer’s disease?
“Making a distinction is very important. A memory disorder is not always necessarily the wake-up call for Alzheimer’s disease. The so-called ‘forgetfulness’, the classic ‘memory lapses’ so to speak, are typical of the Azian. the opposite is also true. I mean that if we are not dealing with sporadic episodes, certain behaviors should not be underestimated “.
At what age can Alzheimer’s symptoms develop?
“The average age is after 60. Although, since life expectancy has been prolonged, Alzheimer’s symptoms are much more likely to arise at a very old age. In this case, we speak of onset. late “.
How many people are affected to date?
“Alzheimer’s disease is the most widespread form of neurocognitive disorder. In Europe, with three million cases, it represents 54% of all dementias, affecting only in Italy about 20% of the population over 60 for a total of over 630 thousand cases “.
Is there a genetic predisposition?
“Apart from some (rare) forms that refer to particular genetic predispositions, generally a lot depends on our cognitive reserve”.
That is to say?
“How much we have exercised our cognitive activity during adulthood, then after the end of school. And it is for this reason that it is essential to read or, for example, participate in an art exhibition. Cognitive reserve is a protective element for our brain and slows down cognitive decay “.
What are the major risk factors?
“Surely having a healthy and balanced life is fundamental. Even if, it should be pointed out, unfortunately the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s have not yet been identified. We do not yet have certain answers in this regard”.
How much does nutrition affect?
“For sure, it plays an important role. But if in the case of cerebral vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, we are certain that diabetes is an important risk factor, the same cannot be said for Alzheimer’s. However it would be. better to limit food abuses, especially those linked to the consumption of fats and carbohydrates. And, needless to say, smoking and alcohol are very harmful “.
Does the same apply to sports?
“Yes. Recent studies have shown that sports also improve brain oxygenation. So it is very important not to have a sedentary lifestyle.”
Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s?
“Research has made great strides in this direction. There are drugs capable of prolonging the level of acetylcholine within the brain synapses. Lacetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, or a substance that has the task of propagating the nerve impulse between two neurons connected through a synapse “.
Instead, a practical remedy to preserve memory?
“Doing the puzzle week or reading books. Do you know when it is said that doing crosswords helps to keep ‘the brain trained’? Nothing more true. It is very important to exercise and constantly stimulate our cognitive functions. But the real cure is prevention “.
How important is prevention?
“Prevention is key. Early diagnosis can really make a difference in the progression of Alzeheimer’s disease.”
Alzheimer’s also affects the life of the sick person’s family members. What is his advice?
“First of all, it is very important that the relatives of a patient with Alzheimer’s recognize that they are in the presence of a sick person. A parent who has lost his historical memory, who has difficulty even recognizing his own children, is an individual who has completely lost their identity. This must be clear. And then, there is another thing: the living will. A person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has every right to be informed and to choose for their future. the rest, I suggest living for the day and not wasting a single moment of life “.