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Saudi Arabia to observe Alzheimer's Day with rest of the world on Sept. 21
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 07 - 2019

JEDDAH — There are more than 130,000 Alzheimer's cases in the Kingdom, according to the Ministry of Health.
The ministry said the patients were receiving utmost care and medical support, enabling them to face the challenges of leading a normal life.
The ministry said it would join the rest of the world in observing the World Alzheimer's Day on Sept. 21.
The ministry said the activities of the day would be aimed at increasing awareness about the disease, promoting the services being extended to the patients, and reducing the risks of developing the condition by pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
Alzheimer's disease is progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility.
In 1906, German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer identified the first case of what became known as Alzheimer's disease.
The World Alzheimer's Day was launched in the US on Sept. 21, 1984, to mark the 10th anniversary of Alzheimer Disease International (ADI), an international alliance of patient organizations.
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks, according to the Alzheimer's Association, a leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research, founded in the US in 1980 by a group of family caregivers led by Jerome H. Stone, a true visionary in the Alzheimer's movement.
Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.
Though the greatest known risk factor of Alzheimer's is increasing age and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older, it is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.
According to a two-year-old study by the Saudi Alzheimer's Disease Association, at least 130,000 people in the Kingdom were suffering from the condition.
Saudi Arabia was one of the five countries — along with Argentina, Brazil, India and China — that were studied for Readiness Index published last year by ADI and the Global Coalition of Aging.
Although the Kingdom scored well on funding and care standards, it scored only 2.86 out of 10 for strategy and commitment to fight the condition. It also scored poorly in early diagnosis, which is crucial for effective management of the disease.
Despite having some of the best hospitals in the region, Saudi Arabia severely lacks experts in geriatric medicine while there is no database on patient information in the country.
The Readiness Index considers the Kingdom to be "exceptional" in state support for patients and family caregivers. The Health Ministry, though the Saudi Alzheimer's Disease Association, pays for live-in caregivers and weekly visits by doctors and nurses, in addition to covering the costs of medication and transport.


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