Dementia should be a world priority says report

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As life expectancy increases so does the number of people suffering from dementia and according to the BBC, a recent report said the number of people with dementia is expected to double in the next twenty years and triple by 2050.

These figures are quite shocking alone but the financial costs associated with dealing with dementia are just as disturbing.

The World Alzheimer’s report says the costs will amount to more than 1 percent of the world’s gross domestic product ($604 billion) this year.

To put that in some sort of perspective, the BBC reports that this amounts to more than the revenue of retail giant Wal-Mart or the oil company Exxon Mobil and if it were an economy, it would be the 18th largest economy in the world.

The World Alzheimer Report now wants the World Health Organisation to make dementia a world priority.

“Governments must show greater leadership, working with all stakeholders, to drive solutions to the long term care issue” said Professor Martin Prince, of the UK’s Institute of Psychiatry and co-author of the report.

What is needed is more money put into caring for dementia sufferers says the report and better care plans, but there also needs to be new research and treatment options to help avoid a major problem in the future.

“The scale of this crisis cries out for global action” said Marc Wortmann, head of Alzheimer’s disease International, reported the BBC.

“History shows that major diseases can be made manageable – and even preventable – with sufficient global awareness and the political will to make substantial investments in research and care options.”

Dementia is an umbrella term that is used to describe the kinds of symptoms that occur when the brain is in decline. There can be different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is only one of them.

The symptoms include loss of memory, a decline in the ability to perform tasks like reading, writing or even talking, and changes in emotion and mood.

As the dementia progresses the individual will find it increasingly difficult to cope on a day to day basis, even with simple tasks like getting dressed or preparing a meal and will need to rely heavily on others.

This means that not only do individuals with dementia suffer; it can also have a devastating effect on other family members too.

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