Aging Iran: one develops dementia every 7 minutes

September 18, 2020 - 18:30

TEHRAN — According to global statistics, it is estimated that every 7 minutes one person develops dementia in Iran, the figure will rise considerably during the next three decades due to Iran’s aging population, the director of Iran Alzheimer’s Association said on Friday.

Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities and Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60–70 percent of cases.

Estimates indicate that over 750,000 individuals are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Iran so the disease should be taken seriously, Masoumeh Salehi stated.

If there is no shame in expressing the disease, we can diagnose the disease sooner; each year of early diagnosis delays Alzheimer's disease process by five years, which leads to a better quality of life, she noted, adding, recent scientific articles have emphasized that the prevention of Alzheimer can reduce the disease by up to 40 percent.

Dementia is a reversible memory disorder that occurs for a variety of reasons, such as hypothyroidism, depression, or drug use. Early diagnosis and treatment of dementia can help make the disease reversible, but the onset of Alzheimer's disease is irreversible and there is no definitive cure, but we can largely control it with early treatment, she explained.

Literacy is one of the most important factors in preventing Alzheimer's disease. Also, due to the increase in noise pollution, hearing impairment may occur in old age, and we strongly recommend the use of hearing aids for elderly people so that they can communicate with others and not be isolated, she said.

It is important to prevent head injuries in childhood; and diseases such as high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, etc. after the age of 40 can be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, because leaving these chronic diseases untreated, can even damage the cerebrovascular vessels, she also explained.

In Iran, one person is diagnosed with dementia every 7 minutes. Due to the growth of the country's elderly population, this number is also growing, she warned.

With the onset of COVID-19, isolation is intensified, so that elderly should remain active and continue social communication, she highlighted.

Referring to the National Dementia Document, she stated that “with the implementation of this document, Alzheimer's disease will be addressed more than before, and training, screening, and prevention will be given more priority.”

According to the Welfare Organization, out of 720 people studied, about 285 were elderly with depression, and we had between 8 and 10 people with dementia, which was close to the global statistics, she lamented.

World Alzheimer's Day: 'Let's talk about dementia'

September 21st every year is World Alzheimer's Day around the world. This is an international campaign aimed at raising awareness and challenge the common stigma that surrounds Alzheimer related to dementia. 

The theme for World Alzheimer's Month in 2020 is 'Let's talk about dementia'. 

Every 3 seconds someone in the world is affected by Alzheimer’s. Worldwide there are some 50 million people who suffer from dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s. This is more than the population of Spain and the number is steadily increasing. 

Within the next 20 years, the number of people affected by dementia will likely double. More than 130 million people will be afflicted by 2050. This is according to data from the latest World Alzheimer’s Report published annually by Alzheimer’s disease International (ADI), the worldwide federation of Alzheimer’s associations in London.

More than $1.1 trillion is now being spent on Alzheimer's disease worldwide.

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