Dementia rates declining across Australia: Study

Researchers have discovered a decrease in the amount of dementia cases across Australia. Source: Getty

Dementia has previously been proved as one of the country’s biggest health issues but new research has revealed that could change with rates of the condition declining.

While dementia currently affects nearly one in ten people over the age of 65, scientists from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) have predicted a major shift in statistics.

As part of the study researchers analysed information from the SAHMRI-based Registry of Older South Australians (ROSA) as well as data from Australians in aged care services across the country.

After investigating information from 188,846 people, who are currently received home care services, researchers discovered a decline in dementia rates from 26 per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2014. While the rate dropped from 50 per cent in 2008 to 47 per cent in 2014 for those starting long-term care.

It is claimed this impressive drop in cases is linked to changing lifestyles, higher education rates and a decline in smoking.

Speaking to the ABC about the research, SAHMRI doctor and lead author of the study Stephanie Harrison said this is a positive step forward for Australians.

“The great thing about the ROSA project is we are using data that is already being routinely collected about older people, so when people want to access aged care, they have to have quite a comprehensive aged care eligibility assessment which collects a lot of information about the individual,” she told the broadcaster.

“What we’re doing at ROSA is linking that information with other information we have about health, including what medications people are using, what services they are using and information about mortality to create this rich new data source.”

It is estimated that 50 million people around the world are currently living with dementia, a term given to describe the collection of symptoms caused by an array of different disorders that impact the brain.

There are around 10 million new cases of dementia each year, causing disability and impacting a person and their family physically, psychologically, socially and emotionally. Alzheimer’s disease is currently the most common form of dementia, impacting up to 70 per cent of all people with dementia. Other forms include vascular dementia, lewy body disease and frontotemporal dementia.

While dementia can happen to anybody, it is something that is more common in older people particularly those aged over 65. In some cases, other age-related health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and type 2 diabetes can also increase the risk of dementia.

What are your thoughts on the study? Do you know someone who is suffering with dementia?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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