Alzheimer patients' numbers to reach 14.3 million

'Advocacy will help people tackle disease effectively'

Alzheimer patients' numbers to reach 14.3 million

The number of patients with Alzheimer’s and related disorders are expected to swell from 3.1 million in 2005 to 14.3 million in 2050. Of all the cases, only 10 per cent of them are diagnosed, said Chairperson of Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), Meera Pattabhiram here on Sunday.

Alzheimer’s is a disease causing dementia, a medical condition that affects especially old people, causing gradual worsening of the memory and other mental abilities, and leading to confused behaviour and eventually death.

She said that persons with the disorder are blissfully unaware of their conditions, while the family of the patient has to undergo hardships. “Approximate total cost per year for the medication of a patient is 925 dollars (Rs 52,725), which is pretty high for a majority of population in the country,” she said.

She was speaking after the inauguration and installation of the Mysore chapter of ARDSI at Sarada Vilas College of Pharmacy here on Sunday. This is the second chapter of ARDSI in the State.

Advocacy about the disease will help in people tackling the disease effectively, she said. “In India, awareness on dementia and related disorders are extremely low. Hospitals too are yet to be equipped with rehabilitation facilities for such patients,” she said.

Following the installation of ARDSI in the city, training programmes will be conducted for the families of the patients. Rehabilitation facility for patients such as physiotherapy, music therapy, yoga and others, she said.

Co-chairman of ARDSI, Hanumanthachar Joshi said that ARDSI had already started identifying patients with Alzheimer’s and related disorders in the city. “As per the population of the district, there might be about 3,000 patients in the State. We have already identified 130 people with related disorders. Since the disease normally affects people above sixty years of age, their family members dismiss the disorder as insanity, related to old age. However, the disease will soon become a nuisance to family members,” he added.

Karnataka scenario

According to a report by ARDSI, the India Dementia Report, as many as 1,39,800 patients suffered from such disorders in 2006. In a survey in 2011, the total number of patients had increased to 1,83,131. By 2016, the numbers will reach 2,25,800 and 3,40,000 by 2026.

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