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Experts discuss upward trend in dementia

Update: August, 20/2014 - 08:29
Elderly people join a Tai Chi exercise class in Ha Noi's Hai Ba Trung District. The Central Geriatrics Hospital says that Viet Nam, ranking seventh among the 10 fastest ageing countries, is facing an upward trend of chronic diseases, including dementia. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam, ranking seventh among the 10 fastest ageing countries, is facing an upward trend of chronic diseases, including dementia.

Director of the Central Geriatrics Hospital Pham Thang made the statement at a symposium on the diagnosis and treatment of dementia in Ha Noi last Thursday.

"Dementia is a disaster for the health of elderly people, their families and the community. The disease seriously affects their quality of life," he said.

Research conducted by the Central Geriatrics Hospital in 2008 showed that nearly five per cent of the country's elderly population was suffering from dementia. The rate has nearly doubled in five years.

Vietnamese and foreign experts cited 2012 statistics from the World Health Organisation, saying that there were 35.6 million people living with dementia around the world, and up to 50 – 70 per cent of them were suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The number of dementia cases is predicted to hit 65.7 million by 2030 with 58 per cent living in low and middle-income countries. The figures are then expected to reach 115.4 million and 70 per cent, respectively by 2050.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. There is currently no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death.

The life quality of those with Alzheimer's is relatively low and proportional to the state of the disease.

At the symposium, experts assessed the recovery of cases being subjected to different therapies and suggested the use of non-medicine methods.

They also stressed the need to monitor patient quality of life and consider this as an important criterion when assessing treatment outcomes.

Thang said that Alzheimer's patients should be doing physical exercises, such as walking and muscle practices, at least twice per week for an hour each time to slow down the disease. Patients should also engage in other activities such as colouring pictures and puzzles for mental stimulation.

"Non-medicine methods are simple, easy to implement and do not have after-effects so we can apply them regularly," he said. — VNS

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