This was the first instalment of our ‘Alpharmaxim Spotlight On’ series – our campaign to raise awareness about areas of unmet need in healthcare, from diseases to digital engagement.

To kick off the project, we released this factsheet for World Alzheimer’s awareness day 2021 (21 September). Disease awareness is essential, especially in the field of neurodegeneration. With few existing treatments, it’s especially important to promote an understanding of the symptoms and help aid early diagnosis.

Interested in reading more? Explore more of our insights, opinions and articles. You can read the text-only version below or access the visual factsheet if you prefer.

#AlpharmaximSpotlightOn
Alzheimer’s disease

“Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks”1

Famous people who had Alzheimer’s disease2,3

Barbara Windsor

Rita Hayworth

Enid Blyton

Rosa Parks

Etta James

Terry Pratchett

Alzheimer’s disease facts

  • The disease is named after Alois Alzheimer, the German doctor who first described it in 19061
  • 47 million people are affected globally4
  • In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of dementia) was the 7th leading cause of death5
  • 59% of people worldwide incorrectly believe that Alzheimer’s disease is an inevitable consequence of aging4
  • Alzheimer’s disease affects more women than men6
  • In younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, people under the age of 65 are affected7

Alzheimer’s disease is8,9

  • Progressive
  • Multifactorial
  • Neurodegenerative
  • Irreversible
  • Incurable
  • Caused by accumulation of the amyloid-β peptide in the brain, which starts 15–20 years before clinical symptoms are seen, due to defective clearance of the peptide by the brain

Stages of Alzheimer’s disease10

Early stage (mild)

Forgetfulness, misplacing objects

Middle stage (moderate)

Confusion, personality changes, tendency to wander

Late stage (severe)

Difficulty with communication, reduced physical abilities, require round-the-clock assistance

“Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia”8

Know the signs of Alzheimer’s disease to support timely diagnosis11

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with place or time
  • Difficulty in visual or spatial awareness
  • New problems with speaking/writing
  • Misplacing items and inability to retrace steps
  • Poor judgement
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Mood and personality changes

“Early, accurate diagnosis is vital”12

Risk factors13

  • Age
  • Family history and genetics
  • Head injuries
  • Other conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure

Prevention14

  • Regular physical exercise
  • Follow an
    anti-inflammatory diet
  • Maintain social contact
  • Keep mentally active
  • Minimise head trauma

There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease; however, there are treatments available that may change disease progression and drug and non-drug options that may help treat symptoms15

References

1. National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer’s disease fact sheet. 8 July 2021. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet. Accessed 13 September 2021; 2. Ranker. Famous people who died of Alzheimer’s disease. 1 March 2019. https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-people-who-died-of-alzheimer_s-disease/reference. Accessed 13 September 2021; 3. Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dame Barbara Windsor dies with dementia, aged 83. 11 December 2020. https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/dame-barbara-windsor-dies-with-dementia-aged-83/#:~:text=Actress%20and%20 national%20treasure%20Dame,Scott%20Mitchell%20 by%20her%20side. Accessed 13 September 2021; 4. Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s & dementia: global resources. 2021. https://www.alz.org/global/overview.asp. Accessed 13 September 2021; 5. World Health Organization (WHO). The top 10 causes of death. 9 December 2020. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death. Accessed 13 September 2021; 6. Sauer A. Why is Alzheimer’s more likely in women? alzheimers.net. 5 September 2019. https://www.alzheimers.net/8-12-15-why-is-alzheimers-more-likely-in-women. Accessed 13 September 2021; 7. Alzheimer’s Association. Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease: what is the difference? https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/difference-between-dementia-and-alzheimer-s. 2021. Accessed 13 September 2021; 8. Mendiola-Precoma J, Berumen LC, Padilla K, Garcia-Alcocer G. Therapies for prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Biomed Res Int 2016;2016:2589276; 9. Panza F, Lozupone M, Logroscino G, Imbimbo BP. A critical appraisal of amyloid-β-targeting therapies for Alzheimer disease. Nat Rev Neurol 2019;15(2):73–88; 10. Alzheimer’s Association. Stages of Alzheimer’s. 2021. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages. Accessed 13 September 2021; 11. Alzheimer’s Association. 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s. June 2019. https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-dementia-10-signs-worksheet.pdf. Accessed 13 September 2021; 12. Alzheimer’s Association. Why get checked? 2021. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/diagnosis/why-get-checked. Accessed 13 September 2021; 13. Alzheimer’s Association. Causes and risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. 2021. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/causes-and-risk-factors. Accessed 13 September 2021; 14. Alzheimer’s Association. Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented? 2021. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/prevention. Accessed 13 September 2021; 15. Alzheimer’s Association. Treatments. 2021. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments. Accessed 13 September 2021

At Alpharmaxim, we have extensive experience in helping speciality healthcare companies across the world communicate with healthcare professionals and patients, particularly in rare diseases. We are passionate about helping our clients tell their stories and fulfil their promises, and we aim to make a real difference to patients, families and healthcare professionals.

If you would like to know more, please visit our website www.alpharmaxim.com, or contact Sophie Jones on +44 (0)161 929 0400.