He alzheimer is the most common form of dementia: it represents between 60% and 80% of all cases of dementia. It is not a characteristic of aging, although age is a risk factor. It is a disease that causes issues in the memory, he thought and the behavior.
The symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, until they are so severe that they interfere with daily tasks. According to the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), in Spain, between 3% and 4% of the population between 75 and 79 years old is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, figures that increase to 34% in people over 85 years of age. But in addition, there is a type of Alzheimer’s called early alzheimer (or early start). These are some keys of the illness.
He early alzheimer is the one who shows up before the age of 65. According to the neurologist at the Alzheimer’s Unit of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Albert Lladó, one in every thousand inhabitants, Worldwide, between 45 and 65 years They have early Alzheimer’s. Patients with early Alzheimer’s represent between 5% and 10% of all Alzheimer’s cases.
Are there cases before 50?
According to doctor Lladó, early Alzheimer’s does not appear before the age of 50 if not for one genetic cause. “Before 50 there may be cases, but they are genetic. and represent less than 0.1% of all Alzheimer’s cases,” points out this neurologist.
The genes are not the only risk factor Alzheimer’s. He genetic risk factor most common associated with this disease is the gene for apolipoprotein E (Apoe), but have allele 4 of this gene does not always imply have alzheimer’s You can have the disease without this allele.
However, there are three other genes that do cause the disease: the presenilin 1 Gene, he presenilin 2 and the amyloid protein precursor gene. “These genes can cause a genetic Alzheimer’s disease. If you have them, it is highly probable that you will have the disease before the age of 65,” says this neurologist. Even so, they are not “very frequent” genes. “They’re a very rare cause Alzheimer’s and are always associated with a family history beginning before the age of 65″. There is not one clear known cause neither Alzheimer’s nor early Alzheimer’s.
What is the importance of early diagnosis?
As the neurologist explains, the importance of early diagnosis is to allow the patient to decide “autonomously” before symptoms prevent it. “Decide your future. Decide who wants me to take care of him and decide what things you don’t want done to you”, says Lladó. In addition, sometimes some Alzheimer’s patients are misdiagnosed with depression or other diseases and are receiving “wrong treatments”.
It is very important for diagnosis medical history of the patient, with a companion. “Talking to the familiar you can see the deficits what’s up, if there is a degenerative process”, account Llado. There is also disease biomarkers, with high efficiency: the lumbar puncture with analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. “Here we analyze the proteins and it gives us a pretty accurate diagnosis of the disease,” he adds. The amyloid PET (a neuroimaging technique) help detect disease. Above 75 years, the diagnosis is “more clinical”, that is, it is based more on the patient’s symptoms, since here the utility of tests is less.
Alzheimer’s there is no cure but yes treatment, which can help maintain cognitive performance. Besides drugs (which do not modify the natural course of the disease, but rather alleviates the symptoms) patients can go to centers dedicated to Alzheimer’s to perform cognitive stimulation techniques and exercises. In addition, the sessions physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or other activities such as music therapy and the activities with ‘tablets’ also help. But all these treatments they are symptomatic, not curative of the disease.
It is the new experimental drug for Alzheimer’s that, according to clinical trials, reduces the progression of the disease by 27%. It is already approved in the US, but not in Europe. Although does not cure alzheimer it does slow your progress and, in general, it has been very well received by the main Alzheimer’s associations, as the Pasqual Maragall Foundation either Ace Alzheimer Center of Barcelona. Since 2003, there was no no new drug for this disease.
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