Alzheimer's disease is the cause of 70% of dementias and its incidence will double by 2050 due to the aging population

World Alzheimer's Day is celebrated tomorrow with a focus on innovation, identification of risk factors and disease prevention

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that causes a progressive loss of recent memory, to which is added the affectation of other cognitive functions during the evolution of the disease and, in some cases, behavioral alterations. According to data from the Federation of Alzheimer's Associations of Catalonia (FAFAC), this disease affects approximately 85,000 people in Catalonia. Currently in Lleida there are about 9,000 people diagnosed. It represents between 60% and 70% of cases of dementia and it is estimated that with the aging of the population, the number of cases will double by 2050. This justifies society's concern about this disease, so that Alzheimer's disease remains one of the health problems that most concern Spanish society (63%), just behind cancer (68%) and ahead of stroke (57%) and myocardial infarction (46%). From the age of 55 onwards it represents the number one health concern, since 79% of those surveyed consider it to be the main problem faced by older people, ahead of cancer, according to the second survey "Attitudes and perceptions of the Spanish population on Alzheimer's disease", carried out by the Pasqual Maragall Foundation.

Gerard Piñol, Head of Neurology and Coordinator of the Cognitive Disorders Unit at the University Hospital Santa Maria de Lleida, states that "possibly this concern arises both from its high prevalence and from the social and family impact it causes. Some 80% of the patients' treatment falls on a member of the family, especially women or daughters, with the impact this has on the structure of the family. At the same time, it also has an impact on the family economy, since the direct and indirect costs of treating a patient with this disease amount to around 30,000 euros per year".

September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day, declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Spain, the Spanish Alzheimer's Confederation (CEAFA) is in charge of the campaign at national level, and this year it is being celebrated with the slogan "Integrating innovation". The aim is to highlight one of the most important and at the same time most complex demands: the commitment to innovation. Innovation in different essential aspects of the disease, such as new research paradigms, non-pharmacological therapies, social awareness and associative model, involvement of administrations, technological integration, internal and external communication and the relationship with the media.

For its part, Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) celebrates World Alzheimer's Month under a different slogan, but one that makes reference to an equally important aspect. The campaign, "Never too late, never too early," highlights the critical role of identifying risk factors and taking proactive steps to delay or prevent the onset of dementia and symptoms.

Alzheimer's and other types of dementia can appear before symptoms are apparent or identifiable. For this reason, ADI wants to focus on the need to understand and respond to the risk factors that can lead to Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

It is one of the health problems of greatest concern to the population (63%), just behind cancer (68%) and ahead of stroke and myocardial infarction