Dementia A Growing Concern In China
Researchers have found that the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in China has more than doubled since 1990.
AsianScientist (Jun. 19, 2013) – Researchers have found that the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in China has more than doubled since 1990.
The study, published in The Lancet, found that more than nine million Chinese people have dementia. The number of dementia sufferers in China, based on 2010 figures, is the highest of any country in the world.
The study also found that the number of dementia sufferers in China is increasing at a rate far faster than expected in the country which is ill-equipped to deal with the problem. There were just 3.68 million people suffering from dementia in China just 20 years ago in 1990, with the number increasing to 5.62 million in 2000.
The findings raise important questions for China according to Professor Wang Wei, co-lead author of the study, who believes that the country will struggle to care for its millions of dementia sufferers in years to come.
The researchers believe that the rapid increase is due, in part, to China’s aging population as the onset of dementia usually occurs past the age of 75.
Further, the problem of caring for the elderly who suffer from dementia may be exacerbated by the large-scale migration of young adults from rural China to urban areas. This results in large numbers of elderly people living in rural areas alone, without able-bodied care-givers in the family.
Prof. Wang said adequate resources need to be provided at the national, local, family and individual levels to tackle what is a growing problem.
“Public awareness campaigns are needed to counteract common misconceptions about dementia in China – including that it is not very common in the Chinese population, that it is a normal part of ageing, or that it is better not to know about it because nothing can be done about it,” said Professor Wang.
Source: Edith Cowan University; Fechi Fajardo/Flickr.
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