The number of people who suffer dementia in the world, the vast majority caused by Alzheimer's disease, will multiply by three to 2050 The World Health Organization (VHO), who published the report under the title "Reducing the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia".
Dementia affects 50 million people worldwide, with almost 10 million new cases a year, a figure that will triple by 2050, according to the Deputy Director General of the WHO Ren Minghui. The cost of patient care will reach 2 trillion dollars by 2030.
"Although there is no curative treatment for dementia, proactive management of variable risk factors can delay the onset or progression of the disease," explained Minghui.
"Given that many of the risk factors for dementia are shared with those related to non-infectious diseases, key recommendations can be effectively integrated into smoking cessation programs, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and dieting."
Dementia associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's disease usually occurs after age 60, although it can occur in younger age, with initial symptoms such as short-term memory loss, attention or concentration, and problems in certain movements. or recognize faces and objects. The WHO estimates that between 5% and 8% of people over 60 years of age suffer from dementia at some point.
There is still no cure for neurodegenerative diseases associated with dementia, said Neerja Chovdhari, a WHO expert, who also emphasized that "a lot of research is being done to find it, but it's hard to know when it will be available."
An increase in life expectancy around the world raises dementia related to age, although this is not a problem that is unique to developed countries with older populations.
This is evident from the fact that 60 percent of current cases are registered in low and middle income countries.
The lines of action WHO announces today do not differ too much from advice to prevent other diseases such as cardiovascular disease. According to Dr Tedros General Adhanoma Ghebreiesus, the general director of the organization, "the scientific evidence gathered for the elaboration of these recommendations confirms what we have already doubted for a while: that what is good for our hearts is good for our brain."
Physical activity, not smoking, healthy eating and avoiding harmful alcohol use are also among the VHO reports. Among other things, treatment against hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes appears in order to reduce risks.
The report states that although the age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural or inevitable consequence of aging.
"In the last two decades, several studies have shown the link between the development of cognitive decline and dementia with the educational level and risk factors related to lifestyle, such as physical inactivity, smoking, unhealthy and harmful alcohol consumption," the study said.
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) created the Global Dementia Observatory to gather information in 80 countries on this symptom. The international organization now emphasizes that it is essential to support caregivers of demented people, many of whom are family members who sometimes sacrifice their social and professional lives for it.
The WHO has recently created an iSupport tool, a digital training platform for carers and healthcare professionals currently used in eight countries, although it is expected to expand in the near future. The site is currently available online and answers some of the key questions about this health issue.