He alzheimer’s 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, even if 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 worsen 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 disease, figures that increase to 34% among people over 85 years old. But in addition, there is a type of Alzheimer’s called Early Alzheimer’s (or early start). These are some keys of the disease.
He Early Alzheimer’s is the one who shows up before the age of 65. According to the neurologist of the Alzheimer Unit of the Clínic Hospital of Barcelona, Albert Lladó, one in a thousand inhabitants, In the whole world, between 45 and 65 years old They have early Alzheimer’s. Patients with early Alzheimer’s represent between 5% and 10% of all Alzheimer’s cases.
Are there cases before the age of 50?
According to Doctor Lladó, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease does not appear before the age of 50 if not for a genetic cause. “Before 50, there may be cases, but they are genetic. and represent less than 0.1% of all Alzheimer’s cases,” says this neurologist.
The genes are not the only risk factor Alzheimers. He genetic risk factor most commonly 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 disease You can have the disease without this allele.
However, three other genes cause the disease: Presenilin 1 gene, he presenilin 2 and the amyloid protein precursor gene. “These genes can cause genetic Alzheimer’s disease. If you know it, it is very likely that you will have the disease before the age of 65″, says this neurologist. Even so, they are not “very frequent” genes. “They are one very rare cause Alzheimer’s and are always associated with a family history beginning before the age of 65”. There isn’t one clearly known cause neither Alzheimer’s nor early Alzheimer’s.
How important is early diagnosis?
As the neurologist explains, the importance of early diagnosis is to let the patient decide “in an autonomous way” 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. Also, sometimes some Alzheimer’s patients are misdiagnosed with depression or other illnesses and receive “bad treatments”.
It is very important for the diagnosis medical background of the patient, with an attendant. “By talking to the familiar, you can see the deficits What’s new, if there is a degenerative process”, Llado account. There is also disease biomarkers, high performance: the lumbar puncture with analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. “Here we analyze the proteins and that gives us a fairly accurate diagnosis disease,” he added. Amyloid PET (a neuroimaging technique) help detect disease. Above the age of 75, the diagnosis is “more clinical”, that is to say, it is more based on the symptoms of the patient, since here the the usefulness of the tests is less.
Alzheimer’s there is no cure but yes a treatment, which can help maintain cognitive performance. Besides drugs (which do not alter the natural course of the disease, but rather relieves symptoms) patients can go to centers dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease to carry out cognitive stimulation techniques and exercises. Additionally, the sessions physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or other activities such as music therapy and activities with “tablets” also help. But all these treatments they are symptomatic and not curative of the disease.
It is the experimental new drug for Alzheimer’s disease that, according to clinical trials, reduces disease progression by 27%. It is already approved in the United States, but not in Europe. Even if does not cure alzheimer it slows your progress and in general it has been very well received by the main Alzheimer associations, as the Pasqual Maragall Foundation either Ace Alzheimer Center in Barcelona. Since 2003, there was no longer no new drug for this disease.