Alzheimer’s Disease


What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

It is a chronic and degenerative neurological disease that affects several cognitive functions (memory, attention, concentration, language, thought, among others).
This deterioration, initially subtle, worsens irreversibly, causing changes in the behavior, personality and ability of people living with Alzheimer’s disease to perform their daily tasks. [1]

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, constituting about 60% to 70% of cases. (World Health Organization, 2023) [2]

The first symptoms of the disease

  • Frequent memory problems, particularly difficulties remembering events, recent conversations, appointments or important dates;
  • Reasoning difficulties (getting confused about what day it is, where it is, inability to continue a conversation);
  • Emotional unpredictability;
  • Loss of interest/enthusiasm in carrying out activities previously assessed;
  • Disorganisation, difficulty in planning and carrying out daily activities (such as preparing a meal);
  • Devaluation of labour and social activities;
  • Incorrectly assess the distances of objects (visually). [3]

Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

Age - It is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer, this means that a person is more likely to develop the disease as he ages. After age 65, a person’s risk of developing the disease doubles every five years. However, people under 65 are also affected (9% of cases).

Genetics - There are some genes that can be transmitted from one parent and that can affect a person’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.

Lifestyle - People who lead a healthy lifestyle, (particularly from the age of 40), are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Not smoking, not drinking too much alcohol and following a healthy and balanced diet is very important. [3]

Is there a treatment for Alzheimer?

To date, there is no cure for this disease. However, it is possible for a person with Alzheimer’s to maintain a good quality of life (and their abilities for as long as possible) by resorting to appropriate activities, therapies and care.

Physical exercise - Several studies prove that regular exercise is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline.
According to the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (2023), Dance is an alternative to traditional exercises that has very positive results in the study population.
It has been shown that this activity can improve cognitive function, including short-term memory, and increase endurance and coordination. [4] [5]

Cognitive stimulation therapy - Activities that promote cognitive stimulation (at the level of memory, attention, language, visuospatial ability) offer improvements to overall cognitive performance and overall well-being.
In a study conducted with adults over 55, it was found that the practice of this therapy three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes is enough to minimize cognitive decline. [6]

Socialization - Socialization is extremely important for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Increased social interaction has been shown to minimize the feeling of loneliness, isolation, stress and vascular factors that contribute to cognitive decline.
As the disease progresses, some people may feel agitated and distressed, so positive interactions with others can help. [7]

[1] Retrieved: 18 September 2023.
[2] Retrieved: 18 September 2023.
[3] Retrieved: 18 September 2023.
[4] Lindsay S. Nagamatsu e Patricia C. Heyn. The Effects of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: Evidence From Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 2023, 31, 529-53
[5] Retrieved: 18 September 2023.
[6] Retrieved: 18 September 2023.
[7] Myuri Ruthirakuhan , Angela C. Luedke , Angela Tam , Ankita Goel , Ayaz Kurji ,e Ángeles Garcia. Use of Physical and Intellectual Activities and Socialization in the Management of Cognitive Decline of Aging and in Dementia: A Review, Journal of Aging Research, 2012: 384875.