a forgotten disease, but in the full today

posted on 09/02/2021 1:03 PM

  (credit: Sabine van Erp by Pixabay)

(credit: Sabine van Erp by Pixabay)

Cases of dementia, a syndrome characterized mainly by a loss of memory and reasoning, are on the rise worldwide, but only a small minority of countries have plans to fight it, warned the WHO.

According to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), dementia, whose most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease, affects more than 55 million people worldwide.

According to projections, this number will increase to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050, due to the aging of the population.

Dementia, a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in the ability to carry out daily activities, affects about 90% of people over 65 years of age.

However, it is not an inevitable consequence of aging.

Although there is no treatment, studies show that 40% of cases can be avoided or delayed with regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, healthy eating and controlling weight and blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. .

Other risk factors are depression, low education, social isolation and cognitive inactivity.

However, the report reveals that only a quarter (26%) of WHO Member States have a plan to combat dementia, half of them in Europe, as explained at a press conference by Dr Katrin Seeher, Department of Health WHO Mental and Psychoactive Substance Use.

In addition, she indicated that many of these plans were about to expire or had already been finalized.

“We need governments to pay more attention to dementia policy-making,” Seeher said.

The expert, however, acknowledged that it is necessary “to be realistic and see that dementia competes with many other public health problems”, especially in developing countries.

Even so, WHO encourages disadvantaged countries to integrate the problem of dementia into public health policies on non-communicable diseases or into old-age policy strategies.

Almost 60% of people with dementia live in low- and middle-income countries.

According to the report, the global costs of dementia were estimated at $1.3 trillion in 2019. That number is expected to increase to $2.8 trillion in 2030.