Keep brain engaged or lose it: Experts tell elderly

Published on Sep 19, 2022 11:42 PM IST

KGMU survey finds 3.6% of people in Lucknow dist suffered from dementia, 2.47% from Alzheimer’s disease

FOr representation only (HT File Photo)
FOr representation only (HT File Photo)
By, Lucknow

At least three out of 100 elderly people (above 60 years) in Lucknow suffer from dementia, a chronic neuro-degenerative disease that causes difficulty in remembering.

“The survey done among people above 60 years of age in Lucknow revealed 3.6% suffered from dementia,” said Prof Nisha Mani Pandey, of the department of geriatric mental health, at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU).

“The survey on more than 3000 elderly in Lucknow district, comprising both urban and rural pockets, revealed 2.47% people had Alzheimer’s disease (AD),” said Prof Pandey. The survey is part of activities for this year’s Alzheimer’s Day (September 21). AD is the most common type of dementia.

Speaking about the preventive measures for AD, Prof Pandey said higher education has been seen as a protective factor along with higher cognitive levels at work. “For the brain, there is one formula for all to follow which is, use it or you can lose it. This means your brain will stop functioning if you don’t put it to use even after you cross 60 years of age,” she said.

“To keep the brain engaged, one should take up some work of their interest. So, if a retired banker is asked to maintain finances of a family business or even other family members and keep a record of their earnings and expenses, their brain will stay focused and its cognitive level will remain high,” said Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary-general, Association of International Doctors.

Among risk factors, doctors said lifestyle diseases and illnesses that involve sensory organs can harm the brain too. “Vascular comorbidity, cholesterol levels, hypertension, heart ailment and even visual impairment can harm brain function. This is because damage to one organ can be reflected upon others, including the brain,” said Prof Pandey.

Prof Pandey who has studied successfully the non-pharmacological management among patients said apart from early diagnosis of loss of memory, family support is significant when it comes to treatment. “How a family reacts and how society takes an elderly is important. If they (family and society) can ignore a few things that develop with age, elderly can play a significant role in society for they number almost 10% of the total population,” said Prof Pandey.

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