Mumbai: It has been two months since the Maharashtra government set up a memory clinic. This initiative was started on October 2 and 28 of the 30 districts in Maharashtra have registered 1,028 patients who are affected with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Dementia, also called major neuro-cognitive disorder, is a general term used for a decline in cognitive functioning severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is also used to describe a group of symptoms caused by other conditions that have damaged an individual’s brain.
Under the memory clinic initiative, patients affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia are treated in the geriatric ward in the district hospitals in the state. But the numbers of patients affected by these two conditions are on the rise, across the state. This is the reason for the suggestion by Maharashtra’s health minister, Dr Deepak Sawant, to set up memory clinics.
The process is currently under way. Memory clinics will be started at district hospitals in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Thane, Jalgaon, Satara, Sangli, Aurangabad, Amravati, Nanded, Beed, Solapur, Sindhudurg and Latur etc,. Dr Nitin Bhalerao, state in-charge for mental health, said, people are prone to get forgetting things as they get older. But it becomes a matter for concern when they begin to forget their own name and address.
“The aim in starting the memory clinic was to detect signs and symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in patients. These clinics have garnered a positive response from the people,” said Dr Bhalerao. Over 1,028 patients have been registered at these clinics so far, who have been diagnosed by psychiatrists at the hospital and are currently receiving treatment to address their condition.
“However, based on this, we cannot conclude that there is a rise in cases of mental health issues. Due to awareness measures, more people are coming forward for treatment. These disorders are mainly witnessed in citizens who have crossed the age of 60,” explained Dr Bhalerao.
“The memory clinic is targeted at this age group. When a new patient is brought in, his overall medical history is taken into account. Necessary tests are conducted if the patient is presenting with the key signs and symptoms of this condition. Treatment is then begun; they are counselled by psychiatrists and informed about the measures they can take to check the progression of this condition.
As these patients are more prone to sleep disorders, psychiatrists also teach the patients yoga and pranayama to help them improve their sleep. If dementia is detected early, we can check the progression of the disease and prevent it from becoming acute.”