It is the World Alzheimer's Day on Friday and an opportunity to raise awareness and identify the problems of people with dementia and to show how we can overcome them.

It is thought that the disease is caused by the abnormal build up of proteins in and around brain cells, and although the cause of the process is unknown, we know that it starts many years before the onset of symptoms.

When brain cells are affected, certain parts of the brain, usually beginning with regions responsible for memory, shrink, though in rarer cases the first problems with vision or speech can occur.

As the disease progresses, hallucinations, fears, and personality changes become more common.

850,000 people with dementia live in the United Kingdom.

It is the most common type of dementia in the UK and its cause is not fully understood.

However, it is believed that a number of factors increase the risk of developing the disease. These include:

* Increasing age.

* A family history of the condition.

Untreated depression, although depression can also be a symptom.

* Lifestyle factors and conditions associated with cardiovascular diseases, such as smoking, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure and diabetes.

You can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's by taking steps to improve your health in general, such as quitting smoking, drinking less, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and controlling your weight.

Many people are still alone and without the support and care they need to deal with the disease.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but medications are available that can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

If you are worried that someone near you has the disease, encourage them to make an appointment and suggest that you accompany them.

From Dr. Alexandra Phelan, GP at the NHS and Pharmacy2U


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