Wake up to dementia (The Star)
|PET+BLOGSPOT file pix|
KUALA LUMPUR: The number of people suffering from dementia in Malaysia is expected to double in 10 years time and more attention needs to be given to the treatment of the disease.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said currently there were 63,000 people with dementia in Malaysia and the figure was expected to increase to 127,000 patients in 2020.
“As Malaysian population ages, more diseases associated with old age will be more common,” he said.
Liow urged the public to bring their family members suffering from dementia to the doctor at an early stage and not wait until patients presented psychological and behavioural problems.
“Early diagnosis is essential to rule out reversible causes of memory loss,” he said adding that educating and preparing patient and care-givers in the early stages would prepare them for the future.
Liow said there were only 13 geriatricians in the country when 560 geriatricians were needed for Malaysia’s 28 million population.
While more geriatricians were being trained, the Ministry also embarked on formal training programme for all categories of staff and had came up with the 2nd edition of the Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Management of Dementia this year, he said.
To improve early detection, cognitive screening programme were implemented for elderly patients above age of 60 at primary health care centres throughout the country, he said during the 13th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International Saturday.
It was estimated that 24.3 million people have dementia today, with 4.6 million new cases every year or one new case every seven seconds, he said.
Most people with dementia live in developing countries and the rates are expected to increase by 100% between year 2001 and 2040 and by more than 300% in India, China and south Asian and western Pacific neighbours, he said.
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