Srinagar: Dementia cases will increase 197% in India and are expected to triple by 2050 globally, according to the latest Lancet research study.
The number of dementia cases is expected to reach 11,422,692 cases in 2050 in India. In 2019, a total of 3,843,118 cases of dementia were reported in India, according to the study.
However, despite the significant aging of the population in Kashmir, there are no studies or data available to assess the extent of dementia in the elderly.
“There is no epidemiological study in a geriatric population that can indicate an estimate of dementia cases in Jammu and Kashmir, but according to clinical experience we see a good number of elderly patients suffering from dementia.” , Dr Sheikh Shoib, Consultant Psychiatrist. at JLNM hospital, Rainawari said.
Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease more common in people over 65, can have a major impact on the quality of life of the affected person. It is noticed when an elderly person begins to misplace things, to forget recent events, conversations and common places. Someone close to the patient may begin to notice these changes.
“The disease progresses over time and at later stages a person may lose the ability to speak and walk. Although Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t start until around age 65, in some cases it can start at an early age as well, ”said Dr Shoib.
In addition, he added, the Kashmiri population currently has a very high burden of vascular risk factors, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, which can have a negative impact on the onset and progression of dementia. “There is no treatment to reverse or stop the progression. of Alzheimer’s disease, but there are drugs that can symptomatically improve cognition, ”he said.
Judging by the state of affairs and the extent of preparations in this matter, you would be forgiven for thinking that Kashmir will be immune to this cataclysmic increase.
Despite the large elderly population, Kashmir has only a skeletal geriatric health system. In addition, the Geriatric OPD of JLNM Hospital in Rainawari and Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences; “Ahata-e-Waqar” – a leisure day care center for the elderly – was established in Chanapora, Srinagar.
“In addition, a geriatric OPD has been established in a public library in Bag-i-Mehtab, Srinagar. While Srinagar can at least boast of this skeletal network, the other districts in the valley have been left to fend for themselves as no geriatric care facility exists there, ”said an official from JLNM Hospital in Rainawari, wishing not to be named.
Dr Shoib said the therapeutic approach to fighting the disease must be multidimensional. At the awareness level, where people understand what dementia is, a good number of people miss the diagnosis of dementia in the early stages due to a lack of awareness. “There is little awareness of dementia in society and among healthcare professionals. In addition, there is a low capacity of specialized or qualified human resources for the care of people with dementia, and the lack of public health priority for dementia is responsible for the late referral to hospitals ”, a- he declared.
Dr Shoib said that in addition to improving the health infrastructure for the geriatric population, a long-term approach is essential, where not only pharmacological treatment is provided, but non-pharmacological treatment is also considered. “Medication, reminiscence therapy, cognitive stimulation therapy, reality-oriented training as well as lifestyle changes are the treatment approaches for patients with dementia,” he said.