World Alzheimer’s Month is an annual international event, that’s always held in September and is run by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).
The aim of the month is to raise awareness about the disease dementia, its common symptoms and risk factors attached to it and challenge the stigma that surrounds Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it has been running since 2012, with September 21st celebrated annually as World Alzheimer’s Day. In many countries, World Alzheimer’s Day is observed throughout the month.
The theme for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month is ‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s,’ which continues from the 2021 campaign, that focused on diagnosis, the warning signs of dementia, and the continued effect of Covid-19 on the global dementia community, and more.
In 2022, the campaign specialises in post-diagnosis support, following on from recent developments and potential breakthroughs in dementia treatment and support.
On World Alzheimer’s Day, health organisations across the globe focus their efforts on raising awareness about this disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly depletes memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
In most people with the disease — those with the late-onset type symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. It is a degenerative brain condition that affects over 50 million people internationally and is a form of the disease dementia. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is very rare.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults, occurring in 50-60 per cent of all dementia cases. German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer identified the first case of what would later become known as Alzheimer’s disease.
The patient was a 50-year-old German woman. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder. It slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Eventually, when someone has Alzheimer’s, they lose the ability to carry out simple tasks.
An estimated 44 million people in the world have Alzheimer’s disease. Of all the places in the world, Alzheimer’s disease is most common in Western Europe. North America is close behind. In the United States, 5.5 million people have the disease. Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
As the population ages, a higher percentage will be affected by Alzheimer’s. For example, beyond the age of 65, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years. It’s predicted that by the year 2050, 16 million people in the U.S. will have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the country. Around the world, it’s the 7th deadliest. Additionally, the condition causes more disability and poor health than any other disease.
Not only does the person with Alzheimer’s suffer, but their caregivers and family members have a difficult time as well. Caregivers often experience emotional and financial difficulties.
Their physical health also declines. The global cost of Alzheimer’s disease is over $6 billion. By 2050, the disease is expected to cost over $1 trillion in the United States alone.
DHSK takes World Alzheimer’s Month as an opportunity for sufferers, carers, professionals, press and media and communities to work together against dementia as well as raise awareness of the realities of it while combating stigma and misinformation and lobbying the government for better help and care.
Dr Murassa is a Geriatric Specialist, DHSK
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK .