Karachi: In addition to traumatic brain travel and alcohol consumption, air pollution has emerged as a new risk factor for dementia. Changing these risk factors along with others previously identified could prevent up to 40 percent of dementia, experts said Saturday.
They claimed that Karachi and some other cities in the country have been classified as some of the most polluted cities in the world where traumatic brain injuries were also quite common in road accidents as commuters didn’t bother wearing helmets and fastening seat belts while alcohol consumption was also on the rise.
Speaking at an international online seminar at Aga Khan University (AKU) in connection with World Alzheimer’s Day to be held tomorrow (September 21), leading neurologists said that limiting contact with air pollution, avoid injury to the head and limiting alcohol consumption can help. prevent dementia.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a significant decline in mental abilities accompanied by memory loss that disrupts daily life; while, Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease caused by complex brain changes following cell damage. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, experts said.
They argued that other risk factors for dementia include less education, high blood pressure, hearing problems, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and low social contacts. Most of these risk factors were said to be modifiable and dementia could be prevented or delayed for many years by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
The online seminar was organized by the Pakistan Neurology Society (PSN). It was addressed by prominent neurologists and psychiatrists from India, Singapore and various cities in Pakistan who talked about various aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and advised people to change their lifestyle to prevent the disease, which of usually affects after age 60. years.
Speaking on the topic of the global perspective on Alzheimer’s, New Delhi-based Prof Dr Man Mohan Mehndiratta said that around 50 million people are living with dementia worldwide, but this number is expected to increase to 152 million by 2050. He added that dementia is on the rise in low- and middle-income countries where about two-thirds of people with dementia lived.
He deplored the fact that although dementia was on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, unfortunately family care was weakening in those countries, including India, due to the migration of working children and women.
Dr Muhammad Wasay, AKU associate neurologist and seminar organizer, spoke about managing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, saying that once a person was diagnosed with these neurological disorders, they could not be fully cured but the progression of your illness could be slowed down with the help of medicines.
He advised people to turn to trained and qualified neurologists when their parents and elderly relatives started showing symptoms of the disease.
“Memory loss, difficulty performing routine activities, confusion and comprehension problems are some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but with the help of drugs, its progression can be slowed and patients can experience a normal life, “he said, adding that no drug could completely stop the progression of the disease.
Dr. Wasay argued that people shouldn’t opt for unproven treatment options, dietary supplements, and alternative medicines as there was no proven treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. He added that in case of behavioral problems in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, they should consult neurologists and psychiatrists.
Neurologist Dr Abdul Malik spoke about the incidence of dementia in Pakistan, saying that it is increasing due to the increased life expectancy in the country. He added that public awareness was needed to care for the elderly with dementia in the country.
Doctor and professor of medicine Prof Ejaz Vohra called for strengthening the family system and providing support for people with dementia, saying such patients should not be left at the mercy of running old homes.
Pakistan Psychiatric Society President Prof. Iqbal Afridi spoke on the psychiatric and behavioral aspects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and asked for mental support to be provided to patients with neurological disorders. He added that the caregivers of such patients also needed counseling.
The seminar was also addressed by Dr. Keira Joann from Singapore and by prof. Saleem Ullah. The main guest of the event was Prof Dr Saleem Barech, president of PSN and faculty member of Bolan University, Quetta.