Tzu Chi General Hospital in Hualien City called on the general public Wednesday to pay greater attention to issues related to Alzheimer's disease and dementia, as it marked World Alzheimer's Day.
The hospital said that as part of its awareness campaign, it is offering free consultation services this week on caring for Alzheimer's patients, and early detection of the disease.
During Wednesday's event, Shen Yu-chih (???), director of the Department of Psychiatry at the hospital, said the risk of dementia can be lowered by adopting habits such as regular cardiovascular exercise like running or swimming, which raises the heart rate and increases the blood flow to the brain.
He also suggested that people stay socially engaged, practice brainstorming, quit smoking, avoid brain injury and seek treatment for depression, as part of the efforts to reduce the risk of dementia.
In particular, people with a history of depression and anxiety should seek professional help because they are at a higher risk of developing dementia, Shen said.
In Taiwan, there are more than 250,000 people with dementia and the number is increasing by an average 40 per day, Shen said, citing statistics from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) valid as of the end of 2015.
Dementia symptoms, which include memory loss and difficulty with thinking, problem solving or language, occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, such as Alzheimer's.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's or any other type of dementia, according to ADI.
However, it said, delaying the onset of dementia by five years could halve the number of deaths from the condition, saving 30,000 lives a year.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel