While non-communicable diseases have increased in the nation, specialists are now also issuing a warning about an increase in dementia cases.
Saint Giles Hospital’s Principal Medical Officer, Doctor Kiran Gaikwad, says Fijians who have a history of uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension are more likely to develop dementia as they age.
He highlighted this during World Mental Health Day, which was held together with the Health Expo at Albert Park in Suva.
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functions like thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.
Doctor Gaikwad stresses that people need to start adopting a healthy lifestyle at a younger age to avoid getting dementia.
“The problem is that in their early years, the control of hypertension and diabetes is very essential. They have to take their tablets regularly, exercise regularly, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and eat healthy foods like fruits, green leafy vegetables, and berries. There are proven to be protective factors for dementia.”
While there are no definite statistics on the registered cases, Dr. Gaikwad says dementia cases are more prevalent among women.
“There are almost like one or two cases coming, new cases or follow-up cases that are coming to the hospital, but there are a lot more in society who have not reported to the hospital.”
The principal medical officer says for those who are not able to access services at the St. Giles hospital, they can also seek assistance from divisional hospitals as they have stress management wards.