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The Hindu/ Sc Tech : Dr Jacob Roy (ARDSI) interview with Shyama Rajagopal.
Online edition of India's National Newspaper Thursday, Apr 21, 2011
‘Alzheimer's will be on the rise in India'
— Photo: K. Ananthan
Attitude change: There should be a change in attitude towards handling patients, says Dr. Jacob Roy, Chairman of Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India.
"With the number of elderly people in the country expected to be 9 crore in the Census 2011 report, the government has to recognise that diseases of the elderly is going to be a very important public health problem in India, said Dr. K. Jacob Roy, who was recently elected chairman of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI)l.
In an exclusive interview with Shyama Rajagopal,Dr. Roy, who founded the Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), spoke about conditions of the elderly in the country and specifically about Alzheimer's disease, a complex and frightening disease that is affecting a lot of elderly. He will take on the mantle of ADI chairman for three years in 2012 at the organisation's London meeting.
What is this public health problem?
In 20 years, the number of elderly is going to double which would make India the country with the largest number of elderly in the world.
In that context, the medical problems of a large group would create a public health problem in the country. Since age is the single most risk factor of the disease, and when we have segment of people over 80 growing because of better health care and nutrition, conditions like Alzheimer's will also be on the rise.
What is the extent of the disease ?
The prevalence of the disease [in India] is said to be one in 20 for people over 60 years, and one in 5 for people over 80 years. There are about 3.7 crore people affected by the disease, and the cost of treating the disease is pegged at Rs. 14,700 crore.
This is going to treble in the next 20 years as the number of affected is going to double and become 7.6 crore.
So unless we plan now there is going to be a catastrophe. Families are becoming nuclear… and if someone in our family gets dementia, who's going to take care of the person?"