Some Myths, Misconceptions and Realities of Alzheimer’s Disease

sristy

Many of us have heard about Alzheimer’s disease. It has become one of the well-known diseases nowadays. Mainly Alzheimer’s disease occurs by the damage of neuronal cells of the hippocampus in the brain by forming Neurofibrillary tangle and Amyloid plaque in the brain.

With the wide spread knowledge of this disease the misconception and myths are increasing about this disease. The first and most common misconception is “this disease only occurs in older population” or “Alzheimer’s is a usual part of aging”. Alzheimer’s disease ultimately causes the brain cells to malfunction and leads to eventual cell death. Forgetting of a long time friend or forgetting about returning home they live for many years becomes common in this case. Though Alzheimer’s disease prominently occurs in people having age of greater than 65, it may occur in people having age of less than 65 years old also. So, it is not an older people disease only.

Another myth can be seen among people is that they mix up a usual memory loss with Alzheimer’s disease. When a person become older it so often to have memory problems including forgetting someone’s name, mistaking the time of having medicine, etc. But we should not misconnect Alzheimer’s disease with normal or occasional memory loss.

Some may a think that it is a “hereditary disease” or may comment like that “my Father had Alzheimer’s so I may have the same condition”.  Studies have found less than 5% of possibilities of having Alzheimer’s disease due to family history.

It not surprising that people may think Alzheimer’s disease in not a fetal one. But the reality is patients usually cannot survive. As this disease changes the memory condition and behavior, patients slowly losses control over bodily function. With the time, patient begins to lose their connection between their thoughts, need and communications.

In between 1960 and 1970, aluminum appeared as a suspect of Alzheimer’s. It was assumed that everyday sources of aluminum exposure can be a cause of this disease. However, studies have failed to verify the effect of aluminum to fabricate Alzheimer’s disease which had become a misconception among people for its development.

On the contrast, people may assume that silver dental fillings can have relation with Alzheimer’s disease. This concept arise from the link that; as silver filling is an amalgam which contains about 50% mercury, 35% silver and 15%  tin, among which mercury is a heavy metal that is known to be toxic for brain and further organs. But according to the scientific evidence, no relation has found between silver dental filling and Alzheimer’s disease and declared it is not a risk factor for this disease.

A misconception about patients having Alzheimer’s is that patient may become restless, brutal and aggressive. This is totally a misunderstanding of people because the effect of this disease is different in diverse people. Sometimes people may have a different behavior due to increased confusion and fear of having change in brain. In addition to frustration of not having the capability to process information and proper communication may also have a impact beside their behavior.

Some patients having this disease can sense what is going around them and same patients have difficulties about this point. Usually Alzheimer’s does affect the ability of patents to correspond and understand the world around them individually. Misunderstanding that patient with this disease cannot understand their surrounding it may hurt inadvertently.

However, Alzheimer’s disease can be controlled by several treatments. Not a single way of treatment regimen can control this disease but cannot cure it completely. So, people should avoid this misconception that Alzheimer’s disease in fully curable or might be uncontrollable as both the conception is not right.

It is not true that people with Alzheimer’s cannot function or have a worth life. Patients with this disorder can lead a meaningful, enjoyable life. Earlier diagnosis, treatment and care of patient can give them a good life. Alzheimer’s patients should give love and allow to participate in social gathering in a positive way!

Farzana Khan Sristy is a pharmacy student, has completed her graduation under the department of Pharmacy, East West University. She has interest on recent development of treatment methods and drugs. She is doing her research on Phytochemical activities. Farzana is a student correspondent at Association of Life Science and Engineering Writers (ALSEW). She can be reached at farzana_sristy@yahoo.com

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