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5 Things you need to know about DEMENTIA

1. What is DEMENTIA?

Dementia is a syndrome due to disease of the brain, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is deterioration in cognitive functions, including memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

2. What are the SYMPTOMS?

  • Memory loss - Become forgetful, especially regarding things that just happened.

  • Difficulty communicating or finding words.

  • Getting lost in familiar places.

  • Have difficulty carrying out complex household tasks. (difficulty with everyday tasks)

  • Changes in mood and behaviour (may become less active, lose interest in activities and hobbies; depressed, anxious, irritable, or aggressive)

3. Who is affected?

The prevalence of dementia in Malaysia was 8.5% among older adults aged 60 years and above. 8 – 9 in 100 people who might have dementia.

Projected number of people with dementia in Malaysia in 2015, 2030, and 2050 (in thousands)

(Source: Alzheimer’s disease International, 2014)

Year 2015: 123,000 people; Year 2030: 261,000 people; Year 2050: 590,000 people.

Increased around 5 times by year 2050.

4. Can it be treated?

There is no treatment currently available to cure dementia or to alter its progressive course.

The principal goals for dementia care are:

· early diagnosis in order to promote early and optimal management

· optimizing physical health, cognition, activity and well-being

· identifying and treating accompanying physical illness

· detecting and treating challenging behavioural and psychological symptoms

· providing information and long-term support to carers.

5. How to reduce the risk?

  1. Look after the heart.

  2. Be physically active.

  3. Follow a healthy diet.

  4. Enjoy social activity.

  5. Stimulate the brain.

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