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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 741-742
Rising global estimates of dementia: An urgent public health need to stem the tide


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Rising global estimates of dementia: An urgent public health need to stem the tide. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:741-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Rising global estimates of dementia: An urgent public health need to stem the tide. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Aug 25];10:741-2. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/741/188498


Dear Editor,

Dementia is a syndrome of chronic nature, which is characterized by the continuous decline in cognitive function, clearly in excess of expected physiological ageing.[1],[2] The current global estimates reflect that in excess of 47 million people suffer from the condition, of which more than 50% are from low-middle-income nations, and each year 7.7 million individuals are further added to the pool.[1] Further, around five to eight of every hundred older people are suffering from the disease, and it has been projected that the total number will become almost three times of the current estimate by the year 2050.[1]

The condition tends to affect various functions (like memory, comprehension, judgement, ability to perform daily activities, etc.), decline in emotional control, without influencing consciousness.[2],[3] The clinical presentation might vary in different individuals, based on the individual personality before the onset of the condition and the impact of the disease.[4]

In-fact, the early stages often go unnoticed because of the gradual nature of illness, but as the condition progresses, symptoms become clear, and eventually patients land up into near total dependence and inactivity with serious memory disturbances.[1],[4]

The available evidence suggests that Alzheimer's disease remains the most frequent cause accounting for six to seven cases out of every ten cases of the illness.[1] Even though, not many modifiable risk factors determine the incidence of illness, presence of conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, history of depression, and harmful lifestyle attributes, definitely augments the risk of onset of the disease.[2],[3] The disease tends to have significant monetary expenses (direct medical or social costs, expenses for informal care), rise in the incidence of stigma, enhances negative attitude toward availing health services, augments violation of human fundamental rights, and even cast an overwhelming physical–emotional–social burden on the family members of the affected individuals.[1],[2],[3]

Although no specific measures are available to cure or alter the course of the disease, nevertheless, by extending supportive services to the patient and their families, the ultimate objectives to facilitate early diagnosis to ensure early and optimal management, optimize quality of life and health standards, identify and manage coexisting illnesses, offer specific treatment for behavioral and psychological symptoms, and to provide long-term support to caregivers, can be accomplished.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem and its impact on numerous dimensions of life, there is a great need to make policy makers prioritize the issue, create awareness about the condition among the general population, and ensure that a concerted global and national action plan is implemented.[1],[2],[3],[4]

In addition, specific legislative provisions to prevent violation of human rights of patients, delivery of a comprehensive package of services to the diseased patients, explore the option of e-health to assist the patients and their caregivers, and encourage research to enable future planning, and monitoring of the existing services, is also expected to improve the overall outcome.[1],[2],[5],[6]

To conclude, the problem of dementia is a global public health concern, and is expected to increase enormously in people from lower-income and middle-income nations in the coming years. Now, the real onus lies on us, and it is our responsibility to improve the quality of life of patients and their caregivers by giving adequate attention to the same.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

S.R.S. contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

P.S.S. contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

J.R. contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Dementia - Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/. [Accessed 13 April 2016]  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Dementia McInerney F. Responding to a national and international health priority. Aust Nurs Midwifery J 2016;23:43.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Baptista MA, Santos RL, Kimura N, Lacerda IB, Johannenssen A, Barca ML. Quality of life in young onset dementia: an updated systematic review. Trends Psychiatry Psychother 201;638:6-13.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Neitch SM, Meadows C, Patton-Tackett E, Yingling KW. Dementia care: confronting myths in clinical management. W V Med J 2016; 112:32-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Schaller S, Marinova-Schmidt V, Setzer M, Kondylakis H, Griebel L, Sedlmayr M. Usefulness of a tailored eHealth service for informal caregivers and professionals in the dementia treatment and care setting: The eHealthMonitor Dementia Portal. JMIR Res Protoc 2016;5:e47.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Fowler CN, Haney T, Lemaster M. Helping dementia caregivers through technology. Home Healthc Now 2016;34:203-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvanchery Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.188498

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