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Dementia Research: 9 Facts About This Deadly Disease

Dementia is a disease which most people are unaware or haven’t heard of though it’s quite common, we have conducted a research and realized these nine facts about his deadly disease.

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1. Dementia is more prevalent than you think

Although not as popular as other diseases such as cancer or AIDS, but Dementia is quite a common disease,and most people are not aware of it. Its prevalence is evident from the fact that every three seconds someone contracts dementia, which translates into 9.9 million cases per year. Around 46.8 million people worldwide had this disease in 2015. This figure will likely rise to 75 million people in 2030 and 131.5 million people in 2050.

2. The disease comes with an economic cost

Dementia is not only troublesome for the people suffering from it, but for the economy as well. According to The World Alzheimer Report 2015: ‘The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends, the global annual societal and economic cost of this disease stood at $818 billion in 2015, this represents an increase of 35% from the estimated figure of US $604 billion in 2010 World Alzheimer Report.

The cost associated with this deadly disease is divided into two categories: loss of productivity and direct healthcare. The total economic cost of dementia in New Zealand stood at $1.7 billion in 2016. This cost comprises of aged care, productivity loss, research, medicines, and hospital among others.

3. Women suffer more from dementia than men

While men and women both are more vulnerable to this ailment, women are at a higher risk than men. Research shows that at the age of 65, women have one in a six chance of contracting Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, as compared to men whose chances are one in 11. There are approximately 5 million people in America who have this disease, out of which 64%, that is 3.2 million are women. Dementia is also the leading cause of death in women in the UK.

The reason for this discrimination is not entirely evident. However, research shows that women have a higher life expectancy than men. Also, in one study researchers found that women brains decline at a faster rate than men. According to Maria Carrillo, the chief scientific officer at the US Alzheimer’s Association, there is a need to understand if the differences in brain structure, disease progression, and biological characteristics are responsible for higher prevalence.

4. Dementia is a not a regular part of the aging process

Since the most apparent symptom of this disease is memory loss, people often mistake it for the normal aging process. It is true that dementia mostly affects people who are aged 65 and above, but the ailment is not synonymous with old age. Older people are likely to suffer from ‘age-old memory impairment,’ which is different from dementia. In natural aging, people tend to forget events or conversations that occurred years ago. However, this disease disrupts normal lifestyle as the victims don’t remember present events. People with this disease also have repeated trouble in finding words while in natural aging, this happens only occasionally.

5. Dementia is a syndrome

Dementia itself is not a disease; infact, it is an umbrella term given to a host of symptoms. It is a term that collectively describes the underlying ailments that cause cognitive decline. There are several types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form. Around 60 to 80 percent of the patients with dementia have Alzheimer’s. The most apparent symptom of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease is also a form of dementia.

6. There is no treatment available

As of now, there is no cure available for dementia since several diseases are responsible for it. Most of the dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms develop over time. There is no treatment to slow down its progression; most of the drugs are aimed at relieving the symptoms. Researchers are trying to pinpoint what causes dementia,and a lot of advancement has happened in this area. Researchers are exploring immunotherapy, a process that attempts to boost a body’s immune system so that it can fight against ailments. By conducting brain test, researchers are trying to work on a vaccine against the abnormal proteins that accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s. So far, the studies have been unsuccessful.

7. Most people delay diagnosis

According to a survey conducted by the Alzheimer’s society, 56% of the people delay dementia diagnosis for over a year out of fear. 62 percent of the participants expressed the apprehension that diagnosis meant that their life was over and 45 percent of them thought that they would immediately have to stop driving a car.

Dementia completely changes the life of a person. Hence, an early diagnosis is essential and helps people plan for the future and deal with family and legal matters while they are still capable of making sound decisions. It also helps people get early access to relevant resources and care.

8. It does not only belong to the west

It is true that most of the research regarding dementia has been carried out in the affluent countries. However, there is a misconception that this deadly disease is only prevalent in the West. This disease is an equally important threat in the rest of the world. Dementia is a global issue. In fact, research shows that low-income countries such as China, India and their neighbors are more likely to see an increase in this deadly disease occurrence. Around 75.6 million people are estimated to be affected by this disease in China by 2030.

9. Dementia research does not get much attention

Since this disease does not seem as threatening as cancer or cardiovascular disease, it does not get a lot of funds for research. According to the Alzheimer’s society annual review 2017/18, there is not enough research specialist to make breakthroughs that the patients need. It has been 15 years,and still,there is no cure for the ailment. Recently, Pfizer abandoned its neuroscience discovery program, including all research related to Dementia because the company wants to pour funds in areas where they believe they have strong scientific leadership,and that will allow them to provide the greatest impact for patients.

Written by Alycia Gordan. You can find her on Twitter

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