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11,900 living with dementia in Oman

Healthy lifestyle can prevent the risk
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An estimated 11,900 people are living with dementia in the Sultanate of Oman, according to the last statistics released in 2019. It is projected to reach 124,800 by 2050. The syndrome, however, can be delayed or avoided in as many as 5,000 people, according to the Oman Alzheimer's Society.

Oman Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) warn that despite advances in drug development, risk reduction remains the only proven prevention tool. The governments should urgently fund more research on risk reduction and introduce strategies, education, and support services to delay or prevent up to 55 million of the global projected 139 million cases of dementia by 2050, equalling nearly 5,000 cases in Oman.

Speaking to the Observer on the sidelines of the press meet held at the Haffa House Hotel to announce Oman's participation in organising a national Alzheimer's symposium at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) on September 13, Dr Hamed Sinawi, Chairman, Oman Alzheimer's Society (OAS), said around 55 million people were living with dementia all over the world by 2020, and that the number is projected to reach 153 million by 2050. The case rate in Oman, too, is on the rise.

The symposium will showcase recent advances in the diagnosis of dementia, including the launch of a smartphone application for dementia caregivers.

"Dementia risk reduction can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent the onset of dementia. Up to 40 per cent of projected dementia cases could be delayed or avoided by addressing just 12 risk factors. Remember, it's never too early or too late to reduce your risk of developing dementia," said Dr Hamed.


There are many proven risk factors for dementia, many of which individuals have a degree of personal control over. These include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, infrequent social contact, head injuries, and conditions including diabetes, hearing loss, depression, obesity, and hypertension. Other risk factors include air pollution and restricted access to early education, which governments are responsible for addressing.

Furthermore, governments are responsible for providing other services that can help improve the lives of those with dementia, such as affordable access to health and long-term care and mental health services.

The Oman Alzheimer's Society (OAS) says tackling dementia risk factors in individuals, both before and after a diagnosis, could reduce or slow down the oncoming 124,800 projected dementia cases by 2050 in a way that is accessible and affordable for people across the globe.

Moreover, many governments have already agreed to prioritise dementia risk reduction and support for those living with dementia and their carers through their commitment to the WHO's Global Action Plan on the public health response to dementia. Yet, evidence suggests that many have forgotten or ignored this commitment.


"We are calling on governments worldwide to invest in both research and support services, to reduce dementia risk, and to invest in risk reduction awareness campaigns; clear, persuasive campaigns that cut through the noise and confusion of much of the healthcare messaging", says Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer's Disease International.

"Without treatment or a cure, this is a critical step to prevent as many cases as possible. We must ensure populations are aware of dementia risk-reduction strategies, at all ages, and have access to necessary information, advice, and support services."

Worldwide, September is commemorated as World Alzheimer's Month, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma. Each year, Alzheimer's and dementia associations, alongside everyone involved in the treatment, care, and support of people with dementia from around the world, unite to organise advocacy and information provision events. September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day.

Only 40 governments worldwide have developed national dementia plans, with even fewer of these including risk reduction strategies. As a result, governments still need a vital tool to delay or prevent future cases.

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