Dementia overtakes coronary heart disease in Australia

Dementia overtakes coronary heart disease in Australia

Posted on Mar 7, 2023

A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that dementia now causes the greatest burden of illness, injury and premature death in older Australians, overtaking coronary heart disease. Among people aged 65 years and older, dementia was responsible for almost 230,000 years of healthy life lost – a figure that has increased 62% since 2011, the report found.

Dementia is not a single disease but arises from a range of disorders affecting the brain. It is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms, such as memory loss, and cognitive and physical decline. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for around 60% of cases, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

There were 401,300 Australians with dementia in 2022, the AIHW estimated. For people aged older than 65, the risk of developing dementia doubles every five or six years.

Doctors can recommend several options to treat dementia, but it’s important to note that there is currently no cure. Doctors’ treatment options aim to slow down the progression of the disease, alleviate symptoms, and improve the quality of life of the person with dementia. Here are some of the options:

  1. Doctors can prescribe certain medications that can help improve memory and cognitive function in people with dementia.
  2. Doctors can recommend non-pharmacological therapies, such as cognitive stimulation therapy, music therapy, and reminiscence therapy, can help improve the cognitive function, mood, and overall well-being of people with dementia.
  3. Doctors can recommend healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and social engagement, can help improve the symptoms of dementia and slow down its progression.

It’s important to note that treatment options for dementia vary depending on the type and stage of dementia, so it’s crucial to work with your GP to develop an individualized treatment plan. If you would like to discuss dementia treatment options with your favourite Turn The Corner doctor at either our Northcote or Brunswick clinics, you can make an appointment here.