Dementia increases among aging population

Increasing rates of dementia are becoming a concern in Vietnam, according to medical experts.

According to Professor Dr. Le Van Thinh, Chairman of the Hanoi Neurological Association and Head of Bach Mai Hospital’s Neurology Department, said dementia caused by arterial blocks is the second most common cause behind Alzheimer’s globally and is the most common in Asia, including Vietnam. 

According to Thinh, the disease often appears in people aged under 65 and the rate of men with the disease is higher than that of women in Vietnam. The disease worsens as patients get older. 

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss and decline in language skills or the ability to identify objects. 

Tran Vu from the Vietnam Association of Public Health said the association carried out a study on dementia on 3,308 people aged 60 and above randomly selected from six communes and wards across the country this year. 

The results showed the rates of dementia in rural areas are 71% and in urban areas are 55.3%, which rapidly increase among the elderly. 

Education also plays a role in the disease, with more uneducated people suffering from the disease than highly-educated people. 

Associate Professor Dr. Ho Thi Hien from the Vietnam Association of Public Health, said family plays a central role in caring for the patient and helping limit the disease’s progress. 

The care of elderly with dementia in Vietnam is facing difficulties due to limited knowledge of the disease among medical staff while Vietnam does not have a system for supervising and managing the condition, said Hien. 

The Vietnam Association of Public Health recommended developing programmes for early detection of symptoms of the disease to intervene early and limit the disease’s progress. 

The association also called for programmes to equip medical staff and the relatives of the elderly with better understanding of dementia. 

The elderly were advised to inform themselves about the disease to take measures to avoid it, including following a proper diet and taking part in social activities.