This estimate is mostly accumulated from death certificates in most countries. The problem that lies here is this: let’s say you have a loved one who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s; sadly, he or she is taken from you prematurely by either a cardiac arrest, stroke or pneumonia. The chances are, you’re never going to find the word Alzheimer’s anywhere on the death certificate . . . and so on with the other dementia-related diseases.
There is also the problem of all those who are undiagnosed worldwide. According to the (ADI) only about 20 to 50 percent of actual Alzheimer’s cases have been identified in high income countries like the United States, and only about 10 percent of such cases in low-and middle-income regions.
Early detection is so important. Granted, there is no current cure, but the earlier one realizes that Alzheimer’s is taking hold, the more accurately one can start planning ahead and begin working on having a respectable quality of life. I know I would want to know as soon as possible so I could put everything into prospective while I still can.
At first, we might have some time. Recent studies are suggesting that these diseases actually start developing around ten years prior to the occurrence of any cognitive-impaired symptoms.
The medications we have today only address the symptoms of the disease, and I highly want to stress that point. These medications do not modify the course of the disease. Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy of the Alzheimer’s Association states, “These drugs typically stop working within six months to a year.” He also suggests that such drugs may work better if they are given very early in the course of the disease, even before the symptoms are strongly evident.
Researchers are working arduously to discover the disease’s bio-markers from the earliest possible detection. The number of people suffering from this illness is likely to triple by the year 2050. The United Nations is currently pressing for the development of a strategy that will promote early detection around the world. Of course, one of the biggest problems with this is funding, which in today’s economy is going to be extremely difficult.
If you or someone close to you is showing any signs of cognitive impairment, please don’t ignore it. I know personally how it took a major battle to finally get my father to agree to seeing his doctor about his declining condition. That was the first true step in making sure he was well-cared for and given the best quality of life I could offer.
This isn’t something that is going to go away. Alzheimer’s and indeed all dementia-related diseases become a hardship you and your loved one will have to deal with the rest of your lives.