AS THE number of Alzheimer’s patients in Thailand is expected to rise to over a million by 2030 from 600,000 last year, the Public Health Ministry vowed to develop medical knowledge and provide services to prevent or slow down the disease.
Ministry spokesman Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoen-chai said 50 million people worldwide suffered from this disease, which poses a significant challenge to the world’s public health system. Globally, there is a new Alzheimer’s case every 68 seconds, he added.
The prevalence of the disease in Thailand stands at between 3 and 5 per cent, and up to 30 per cent of cases involve patients over 85 years old, he said.
The Department of Medical Service has been tasked with developing a body of knowledge about preventive medication, treatment and long-term care for patients as well as creating screening tools. The department is also expected to provide handbooks on caring for patients within communities.
Though no cure for Alzheimer’s has been found yet, early detection and treatment can slow down brain degeneration, he said, adding that the ministry would integrate preventive care in its non-communicable diseases service plan for seniors’ mental health promotion as well as a lifelong health promotion plan.
Dr Suwannachai also urged people to consult a doctor if an aged relative appears to be forgetful of recent events or conversations, is having problems talking, finds it tough to find their way home, is becoming aggressive or cannot complete the daily routine.
Suwannachai was speaking at an event held on Wednesday to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.