Psychiatrists under the auspices of Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Nigeria, ADAN, have warned that early detection and healthy life style would check progression of Alzheimer disease a type of dementia that causes abnormal memory loss, mood problems, and other behavioural problems.
The Psychiatrists during a sensitisation walk tagged, “Walk for Life “to mark this year’s World Alzheimer’s Disease Day in Lagos, Alzheimer’s Disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.
At the walk organised in conjunction with Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Yaba the Medical Director, Dr. Richard Abayomi, said 5 percent of the Nigerian population will suffer dementia at one time of their lives.
Read: 10 Secret To Help Your Heart Combat Stress
Abayomi said the burden of the disorder is much that whatever is presently seeing in the hospitals is a tip of the iceberg.
On his part, President of the Association, Dr Valentine Ucheagwu noted that forgetfulness is a serious condition because what distinguishes human being from other animals is their high level of memory organization and it is common among older adults.
“People lose their memory as they grow old. People should know that it is a disorder and not witchcraft and the earlier we diagnose the better for the individual.
Also a professor of psychiatrist, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Prof Richard Uwakwe, noted that although Alzheimer type of dementia is not responsible for all forgetfulness, in older adults, a large number of cases may likely be the disease, hence, the need for medical assessment.
Uwakwe, who regretted that the burden of the disease was not very clear in Nigeria, said: “According to the 2006 Nigerian population about 3.1 percent of Nigerians are about 60 years and above, and this is the age range at which this disease is common, and within people who are 65 years to 70, about 5 percent may be having the disease, and then as people grow older the percentage increases.
He added that people who indulge in physical activities and eat healthy have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, adding that government should make policies that will improve the social welfare of older adults in the country.
Corroborating their views, a Psychiatrist with the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Abosede Adegbohun, explained that certain signs that are easily noticeable include; forgetting names and objects, not recognizing family and friends, forgetting one’s own phone number or address, difficulty finding a familiar place, noticeable language and intellectual decline, forgetting to eat or maintain one’s hygiene, poor assessment judgment, inability to execute simple tasks, progressive sense of distrust and unusual agitation and irritability.