Alzheimer's screening program to be implemented

September 21, 2022 - 19:42

TEHRAN – A national screening program will be implemented for 120,000 senior citizens between the ages of 60 and 75 suffering from Alzheimer's, Afrouz Safarifar, an official with the Welfare Organization, has said.

She made the remarks on the occasion of World Alzheimer's Day, celebrated on September 21 each year.

The dementia screening program will be piloted in two provinces of Yazd and Qazvin and then in the whole country, she announced.

It is planned to screen people aged 60 to 75 and refer them to relevant specialists for diagnosis.
She went on to note that the necessity of implementing this program is that due to the increase in the elderly population in the world and in Iran, it is necessary to pay special attention to this community and its issues.

According to the report of the World Health Organization, by 2050, Iran's elderly population will reach 26 million people. It is predicted that Iran's population will become an old society, so it is necessary to take measures for the common diseases of old age.

Considering that we can detect the onset of dementia faster with screening tests; As a result, timely interventions are provided for patients and they can slow down the disease pace.

If the disease is diagnosed a year earlier, by providing timely interventions, the disability and the symptoms will be reduced.

It is planned to screen people aged 60 to 75 in 2 provinces and refer them to relevant specialists for diagnosis after those who are susceptible to dementia are identified, she explained, adding, the patients will be under supervision for 6 months to ensure the treatment process.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

A million Iranians are diagnosed with Alzheimer's, which has undoubtedly increased due to the coronavirus pandemic and its complications, Health Minister Bahram Einollahi said in September 2021.

According to global statistics, it is estimated that every 7 minutes one person develops dementia in Iran, and the figure will rise considerably during the next three decades due to Iran’s aging population.

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.

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.

Dementia prevalence worldwide

Every 3 seconds someone in the world is affected by Alzheimer’s. Worldwide there are some 55 million people who suffer from dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s.

As the proportion of older people in the population is increasing in nearly every country, this number is expected to rise to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050.

The estimated proportion of the general population aged 60 and over with dementia at a given time is between 5-8 percent.

Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease or stroke.

Dementia has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care. In 2019, the estimated total global societal cost of dementia was US$ 1.3 trillion, and these costs are expected to surpass US$ 2.8 trillion by 2030 as both the number of people living with dementia and care costs increase.

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