Alzheimer’s prevalence in J&K higher than rest of the country: Experts

Srinagar: The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in J&K is higher compared to the rest of the country, said doctors during an event on World Alzheimer’s Day at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar.

Head of the Department (HoD) of the Department of Neurology at Superspeciality Hospital, Shireen Bagh, Prof Bashir Ahmad Sanai told Greater Kashmir that dementia was a growing global health challenge and its higher prevalence in Kashmir was a cause for concern.

“Early diagnosis and support can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected. Our event aims to educate the people and healthcare professionals about the latest advancements in dementia care,” he said.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology at Superspeciality Hospital, Shireen Bagh, Dr Atif Kawoosa said that doctors in Jammu and Kashmir had seen thousands of senior citizen patients over 4 years and most of the patients had symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia.

“There are different reasons for Alzheimer’s disease like stress and lack of physical activity. Here, we have more patients with this disease compared to other states in our country. There are even such patients who are below 60 years of age,” he said.

The doctors said that early intervention in Alzheimer’s disease is very important. 

“So, raising awareness regarding this disease is the need of the hour,” they said.

As per the study ‘Deep phenotyping and genomic data from a nationally representative study on dementia in India’, the prevalence of dementia among the elderly population in J&K is the highest in the country at 11 percent against the national average of 7. 4 percent.

In contrast, Delhi has shown the lowest prevalence at 4.5 percent, with neighbouring Haryana having a prevalence of 5.8 percent.

Other states with worrying prevalence include Odisha and West Bengal at 9.9 percent and 9.2 percent.

Dementia was found to be almost double among the women at 9 percent than men at 5.8 percent.

The prevalence was also higher in rural areas at 8.4 percent than in urban areas at 5.3 percent, underlining the urgent need to scale up diagnosis in rural health facilities.

Further, lower education was associated with a greater risk of dementia.

The estimated prevalence was 10 percent in those with no education at all, compared to 4. 5 percent in those who had primary level education and 1. 5 percent in those who went to Class VIII and above.

On World Alzheimer’s Day, a one-day CME was organised by the Department of Neurology Superspeciality Hospital.

This year’s theme of World Alzheimer’s Day was ‘Never too early, never too late’.

The delegates were addressed by speakers and all the topics relevant to the topic were discussed.

Prof Sanaie, who was the organising chairman, gave the welcome address which was followed by a keynote address by GMC Srinagar Principal and Dean, Prof Masood Tanveer.

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