China has surpassed all other countries in terms of the number of Alzheimer’s patients, according to a report by the state-run Global Times. The report, titled “Alzheimer’s Patients Demand Insight Report,” was released at a conference in Beijing. It revealed that there are approximately 15.07 million people aged 60 and above in China who suffer from dementia, with 9.83 million of them having Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and is typically associated with older age. However, the report highlights that the disease is now occurring at younger ages in China. This trend is concerning, considering the country’s rapidly aging population.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, there are currently 55 million people living with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most prevalent forms of dementia, accounting for a significant portion of cases. Each year, there are nearly 10 million new cases of dementia reported worldwide.
The report emphasizes that dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is the seventh leading cause of death and is caused by various diseases and injuries that affect the brain. In China, the highest number of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease for the first time is in the age group of 60 to 79 years, accounting for 62.1% of the total population.
Surprisingly, individuals below the age of 60 make up 21.3% of Alzheimer’s patients in China. This proportion is higher than what is typically reported internationally, which ranges between 5% to 10%. The report warns that people in this younger age group are at risk and calls for early screening and diagnosis.
Concerningly, the report reveals that over 60% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in China have yet to be screened, with 12.8% unaware of the need for screening. Addressing this awareness gap and encouraging early detection is crucial for effective management of the disease.
Lu Lin, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and president of the Sixth Hospital of Peking University, highlights the rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in China. At present, 5-6% of individuals above the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, which increases to 10% at the age of 70 and a staggering 48% at the age of 90.
While the global challenge to combat Alzheimer’s disease is significant, there is currently no specific drug for its treatment. Prevention and a healthy lifestyle are important measures to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Leading a healthy lifestyle, engaging in regular exercise, and ensuring adequate sleep are among the recommendations made by experts.
The increasing number of Alzheimer’s patients in China highlights the urgent need for better awareness, screening, and management of the disease. With a growing aging population, it is crucial for individuals and healthcare systems to prioritize brain health and take proactive measures to prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease.