‘Two million Pakistanis suffer from Alzheimer’s’
Islamabad: With the population of elderly people in the country growing fast, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is increasing alarmingly with around two million Pakistanis suffering from the preventable condition and their numbers continue to mount, health experts have warned.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour changes and the disease is rapidly spreading globally. Every three seconds a person falls prey to it.
Experts said at a press briefing on Tuesday held at a hotel in connection with World Alzheimer’s Day that the cost to combat the disease globally had surpassed $818 billion.
They said seven per cent of people aged 65 or more were affected by Alzheimer’s while up to 15 per cent of those aged 75 or more were likely to be affected by it.
“If the disease is not timely treated, it becomes incurable,” Muhammad Wasay, President, Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF), warned.
He shared an estimate agreed upon by the experts globally that by 2050 people affected with the disease would be over 50 million worldwide and would upset unlimited numbers of families.
“Dementia is also called ancestral disease and is one of the six reasons of deaths.”
He said mostly the disease was linked with ageing and, contrary to the prevailing perception, it could be prevented through remedial measures.
“The average age in Pakistan is increasing, thus increasing the risk of the diseases linked with ageing. Alzheimer’s is much common among the people who are 65 or older,” he said.
He added that though no treatment of Alzheimer’s was available, its incidence could be controlled through remedial measures.
Experts said that, due to lack of awareness, people did not understand its symptoms and associated it with old age.