Half a million Vietnamese have dementia

By Le Nga   October 11, 2022 | 11:38 pm PT
Half a million Vietnamese have dementia
A technician (R) instructs an older woman on how to check her motor capabilities. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nga
Dementia affects around 500,000 Vietnamese aged above 60, accounting for 5% of the population in the age group, while more young people have it too.

At a Tuesday conference on preventing dementia and motor impairment among elderly people, Nguyen Trong Luu, deputy chairman of Vietnam Rehabilitation Association, said dementia results from brain damage, with memory decline as a signature sign. It is not a normal consequence of aging, but actually stems from numerous conditions and injuries that mainly affect the brain, he added.

"Dementia can be seen in multiple conditions, the most common one being Alzheimer, which account for 60-80% of all patients," said Luu.

The World Health Organization estimates around 7% of the global population aged 60 and above have dementia, and the number could reach 82 million people in 2030.

Luu said the most significant risk factor for dementia is age. However, doctors say more young people are showing signs of early dementia. Some have suffered brain conditions and strokes, while others lead sedentary lifestyles, have reduced social interactions or are addicted to substances, among other factors.

"Some young people are sedentary, communicate less and their lives are too intertwined with technology. These are the risk factors that make them vulnerable to dementia, not just mere cognitive decline," he said.

Substance abuse would also lead to cognitive decline in the long run, before finally escalating to dementia. Stress and work pressure might also make people less likely to interact with others, he added.

"Dementia can come for young and middle-aged people before they turn old."

Vietnam’s population is aging quickly, with 12 million people aged above 65 and average life expectancy at 75. An aging population also means mounting pressures regarding illness among the elderly, including dementia, experts warn.

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