1.What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes significant cognitive deterioration, characterized by memory loss, language alterations, loss of sense of direction and difficulties in task planning or problem solving. Changes in personality and behaviour often also occur. Affected people progressively lose the ability to be autonomous, including even the most basic activities.
It is a disease that is diagnosed late. We still do not know its direct cause. Currently, it has no cure. In our country, in the vast majority of cases, the direct care and care required by people with Alzheimer’s disease falls on a close relative. It is usually the spouse or, less often, a son or daughter. If you do not have the necessary support, facing the reality of what it means to care for a family member with Alzheimer’s can trigger physical and psychological problems associated with stress, anxiety, depression or frustration.
2. What are the objectives of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation?
Research is the central activity that we carry out at the ‘Pasqual Maragall Foundation’. We know that Alzheimer’s can begin to damage the brain 20 years before the first symptoms appear. When they manifest and the disease is diagnosed, the brain damage is irreversible. We need to act before it is too late, studying from the beginning the first manifestations of the disease in the brain to be able to stop or slow down its development. Therefore, the main objective of our research is to detect the disease early and prevent its appearance.
We also work to support all those people who live with this disease. For this, we have a specific social intervention programme for caregivers from which we organize therapeutic groups that contribute to the well-being of people who care for a family member with Alzheimer’s. We also have the blog “Let’s talk about Alzheimer’s” where we share tips, useful and rigorous information about this disease.
3. What are your tips to prevent the disease?
Scientific research suggests that there are risk factors for Alzheimer’s that we can modify. They are those related to cardiovascular health and lifestyle. Cardiovascular risk factors refer to the control of high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, smoking or being overweight. A sedentary lifestyle or an unhealthy diet have a negative impact on our brain health, so it is advisable to practice physical exercise and adopt the model of the Mediterranean diet. Keeping our brain active and cultivating social relationships are aspects that can also enhance the resistance of our brain to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
More information www.fpmaragall.org