CogniFit's Science blog: Alzheimer’s And The Future Of Health Care

Alzheimer’s And The Future Of Health Care

The Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the most serious challenges the world population faces as the life expectancy increases. It is a challenge for several reasons: it reduces the capacity of the people to live a normal or active life; it is very costly and can easily “eat” the savings of a lifetime; but most importantly, the Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t yet perceived as a major threat by most of the population, which makes it an even higher risk.

It is currently understood that Alzheimer’s is a great threat to the population over 60 years old, but with considerable incidence on the growing population of over 80 years old (about one third of the people reaching this age, will suffer from Alzheimer’s in a normal situation). But in reality, about half of the disease’s cases could be prevented, if people adopt earlier lifestyle changes, such as exercising, healthy eating, and brain training. This means in other words, that the problem exists, but a considerable part of that problem is in each person’s control zone. 

And this leads to another big question: how much of the expected costs for treating and caring for the people with the Alzheimer’s disease could be invested on prevention, ensuring that the burden in the future won’t be unbearable. This is an important question, but it is even more important that the powers that be understand how much the countries and the people could gain and achieve by taking the right choices today. 

On a macro level, the treatment of the several cases of dementia poses the biggest threat to the health care systems, mainly in the developed world. We all know that the debt burden in most of these countries is considerable, and adding exponential health care costs in the future is a time bomb with difficult predictability. 

It is on the prevention side that most efforts should therefore be made. This demands effort, long-term thinking, and attention to all the signs, being it the usual memory loss, or the more general cognitive decline. 

More than the economic costs here explained, there is an even more important social importance of the prevention – which is to ensure a long and healthy life to the people, to ensure amongst other things that a longer life is meant to be active, to be enjoyed. The good thing is: a great part of this is in our hands, and the human being has already proven countless times in the past that it is an animal of change.