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Experts hinge Alzheimer’s prevention on regular exercise

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Experts in the public health sector have said that regular exercises can help one to prevent Alzheimer’s disease by 65 per cent.

The Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative condition of the brain which leads to gradual loss of memory, loss of thinking skills and gradual loss of movement. It is the most common form of dementia that is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities, serious enough to interfere with one’s daily life.

The experts made this known during the inauguration of the Gabi Williams Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation (G.W.A.F) and the 80th birthday celebration of Dr. Gabi Williams, a public health expert. Giving the keynote address, titled “The Rising Tide of Alzheimer’s’ disease, the secretary, GWAF Board and Chief Medical Officer, Columbia University Medical centre, New York, Dr. Olajide Williams, said that the challenges of managing dementia make it a big challenge. “Dementia is challenging because it is overwhelming for the caregiver and family. The disease has no treatment yet, it rather worsens as it progresses. And it is indicated that the number will continue to grow, especially in aging people in some countries,” he said.

Olajide, who is also one of Gabi Williams sons decried that an average Nigerian finds it expensive to treat or manage the disease. According to him, the disease has no cure yet, and even the tested drug that has gone through the first phase is largely unavailable in the country.

He added that people from age 65 and above are at a very high risk of having the disease, which doubles every five years due to the dropping life expectancy rate.

Emphasizing on the need for early diagnosis of the disease, Olajide said, there are preventable symptoms of dementia, adding that if the disease is diagnosed earlier; there is the simple medical treatment that aid memory and also helps the family prepare for the journey of life.

Stressing the need for intense public awareness, he reiterated that, if we don’t bring this disease out of the shadows, the shadows would engulf us.

Addressing what the aims and objectives of the GWAF foundation are, he said that it would help develop local case studies of Alzheimer’s disease, partner with public health institutions to promote awareness through traditional and social media, partner with institutions of higher learning to incorporate it’s awareness into curricula of other training activities, work with government to promote World Alzheimer’s Disease month, which is September 21st.

Olajide said, the foundation would also increase awareness of the disease with the use of both the traditional and new media. This would help keep people abreast of what Alzheimer’s disease is about and how it can be managed.

Professor of Medicine and Population Health, Dr. Olugbenga Ogedengbe, described the Alzheimer’s disease as one that is worse than stroke.

He added that research on it requires a lot of money and treatment that can help improve the life of an affected patient. “We can’t take the condition of what happens in America, and domesticate it in Nigeria, because our diet and environment is different. There is also need for training of caregivers, home care rehabilitation, hospital care.”

He emphasised that the disease is hereditary and anyone who has a family member affected by the disease is at a very high risk as well.

“The sole aim of setting up this foundation is to integrate Nigeria into the global fight against Alzheimer’s disease and to incorporate both public health and educational institution. The foundation is set to increase Alzheimer’s disease awareness, identify available patient and caregiver infrastructure, create a repository for public access and reduce the stigma associated with the disease.

Stressing the way to reduce one’s risk or chances of having the disease, he added that, “is to be physically active that is by regular exercise, get support from immediate and extended family members, adopt good diet, propagate information, we can prevent many disease other than genetically transmitted disease.”

Trustee of the Foundation, Olatoun Williams, while addressing the effect of the disease to a person, said the Alzheimer’s get into every way of life of the victim. She said the disease afflicts the brain, thinking skills, memory, movement it’s a global pandemic so many are involved. It’s a good day for the family and the country; and people are ready to break the silence.

Being the eldest daughter of the celebrant, Olatoun reiterated that her father, Dr. Gabi Williams spent his life as a public health pioneer and was able to enforce hygienic change both at the state and federal level, a great sportsman with a fantastic memory until the Alzheimer’s disease afflicted him.

“We want to take local inventory of Alzheimer’s cases and we will do thorough research of it, we would also domesticate the world Alzheimer’s disease awareness day, which is on the September 21st of every year, and collaborate with the government to make it national, consider the risk factors, and provide the available resources to managing it, we would also use technology is bring to birth the latest remedies and treatment available,” she stated.

Shedding more light on the Foundation’s set objectives, she stated that the initiative will, among other objectives: develop local case studies of Alzheimer’s Disease; partner with public health institutes to promote  Alzheimer’s Disease awareness through traditional and social media; work with institutions of higher learning to incorporate the study of Alzheimer’s Disease into curricula; create and disseminate an inventory of caregiver agencies in Nigeria that are equipped to support families and patients living with the disease: and conduct an inventory of physician experts and local researchers into Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders.



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