Current AffairsHealthIndia

Growth of neutral families an increasing factor for cause of Alzheimer’s among elders

Kolkata: Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline.

It is the most common type of dementia. After the age of 80, more than 50 per cent are found to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease i.e. one which doesn’t have a familial history, sets in after the age of 65 years and increases every decade. However, Familial Alzheimer’s can set in as early as in the late 40’s.

Onset of Alzheimer’s disease is linked to some risk factors which effects the time and extent of the disease. These include Low Socio-Economic Class, Isolated Lifestyle, Poor Socialization, Idle Brain or Not Utilizing the Brain sufficiently, Extreme Family Stress causing Depression.

In other words, a person, belonging to low socio-economic status, staying alone, having nothing to do the whole day and thus not utilizing his brain in any active work and/or getting depressed due to extreme family stress is the most likely candidate to get into Alzheimer’s disease in future.

The fastest growth in the elderly population is taking place in China, India, and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbors.

As noted by Srishti Saha, Clinical Psychologist at Fortis Hospital Anandapur, psychosocial factors play a huge role to play in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. In the changed social structure, the number of nuclear families has overshadowed the number of joint families.

“With the younger generation straying out of the city or country in search of better career prospects, the older generation in the family is either staying alone or with a help. With the death of one of the partners, the situation gets worse. The other partner has no-one to have a fruitful discussion with. This leads to slow degradation of brain cells due to lack of any sufficient stimulation. This might be one of the reasons for increasing number of dementia cases in the country in the current times” explains Ms. Saha.

However, few simple modifications in lifestyle can help the elderly avoid getting Alzheimer’s disease. “Individuals, who otherwise don’t have an active life, should solve crossword puzzles, participate in regular social activities and debates on leading political and social issues to keep their brain active on a day to day basis. Keeping the brain active is the only way to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay”, advised the Psychologist.


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