Hopes are high that treatments can help stave off the harshest symptoms of dementia for longer
For generations getting older for many meant becoming a little forgetful, perhaps a bit more confused and unsure of things which were once straightforward.
Of course, in more recent years we’ve come to recognise the symptoms as dementia.
Today there are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with one in six over the age of 80 affected. And it’s a growing issue - by 2020, more than 1m will have been diagnosed with dementia, rising to 2m by 2051.
But while the figures are worrying, it’s vital to remember that many people can – and do – enjoy fulfilling lives, with the harshest of dementia symptoms often kept at bay for years.
Plus, research is also going on all the time aimed at unravelling the disease and finding treatments that can make life easier for people affected.
Among the studies is an investigation by MAC Clinical Research into a new treatment which it’s hoped can help slow dementia progress and buy patients precious time.
It is now calling for local people to consider helping with their research.
Nicola Armistead, of MAC Clinical Research, said: “Dementia describes a group of disorders that cause a loss of brain function. Alzheimer's disease is the most common, affecting 62 per cent of those diagnosed, but other types include vascular dementia, which affects 17 per cent, and mixed dementia, which accounts for 10 per cent of diagnoses.
“All of these conditions tend to be progressive and eventually severe.”
Catching symptoms early means healthcare professionals have the best chance to slow progression. Early warning signs to look out for include:
- Memory loss: forgetting recent information, important dates or asking the same questions over and over.
- Trouble planning and solving problems: some see changes in ability to follow a recipe or keep track of bills.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks: perhaps driving to a familiar place or playing a favourite game becomes tricky.
- Confusion: people may lose track of dates, seasons or time.
“If you spot any combination of these warning signs, speak to a doctor. Early diagnosis is so important,” said Nicola.
MAC is looking for people aged 50 to 85 with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, early Alzheimer’s disease of a history of cognitive decline in the last 12 months to take part in research related to a new drug designed to ‘block’ the build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain, hopefully slowing down the progression of the disease.
To find out more, visit www.researchforyou.co.uk/alzheimers-disease or text MEMORY TO 81025