Dementia cases on the rise, but disease still largely ignored

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Living well with dementia

The number of people living with dementia is expected to increase from the current 35.6 million to more than 115 million over the next three decades according to the World Health Organization.

Dementia is a brain disease that leads to loss of memory. Although it affects people all over the world, more than half of those living with the disease reside in low and medium income countries.

WHO says a lack of diagnosis, information and understanding about dementia is a major problem. People with dementia are often stigmatized, isolated and often denied health care and social support. Dr Shekhar Saxena from WHO’s Department of Mental Health says although dementia mainly affects older people above the age of 60, it is not a normal part of aging.

"People grow old but not all of them have dementia and this has to be very clearly differentiated. Dementia is a brain disorder usually of a chronic nature caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory thinking behavior and ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia usually presents with difficulties in memory difficulty in thinking, difficulty in judgment, difficulty in making decisions, and if it becomes severe, difficulty in looking after oneself in day to day functioning. For example, the person may not remember how to go about even in the normal circumstances how to negotiate oneself from one place to another."

Duration 45"

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January 2018
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