Report from Alzheimer Society of Canada predicts sharp increase in the number of Canadians who will be living with dementia over the next three decades if no action is taken.
TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2022 /CNW/ – September 6, 2022 – Canada faces serious challenges in supporting people living with dementia and their care partners over the next three decades. However, a new study released today by the Alzheimer Society of Canada says actions to reduce the risk factors associated with dementia could make a big difference in overall numbers, despite our aging population.
The new report, called “Navigating the Path Forward for Dementia in Canada,” is the first volume of The Landmark Study, which has been prepared by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The three-volume study represents the most significant update of the prevalence of dementia in Canada and its forecasted growth since the Society’s “Rising Tide” report, which was issued in 2010. The two subsequent volumes, which will deal with the economic and social impact of dementia in Canada over the next three decades, will be released later this year.
“As Canada’s baby-boom generation continues to age, the number of people in Canada living with dementia will rise significantly over the next 30 years,” says the study’s author, Dr. Joshua Armstrong of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “The impact of this change, both on the number of people living with dementia and their care partners, can be lessened if governments and individual Canadians are prepared to take action to reduce the modifiable risk factors associated with the onset of dementia.”
Among the highlights of the report are:
- In 2020, there were 597,300 cases of dementia in Canada. By 2030, we can expect this number reach close to one million. By 2050, the number of cases will almost triple the 2020 level, meaning over 1.7 million Canadians will be living with dementia.
- Ontario is expecting to see the number of people living with dementia more than triple in the next 30 years, accounting for an increase of 505,846 cases. This is a 202 per cent increase in comparison to 2020 estimates of dementia in the province.
- The Landmark Study developed three hypothetical scenarios where the onset of dementia in Canadians was delayed by 1, 5 or 10 years.
- All three hypothetical scenarios demonstrate the power of risk reduction from a national standpoint. Even a small delay of one year could result in almost 500,000 fewer new cases by 2050 and make a huge difference in national dementia rates across the three decades.
- While some risk factors for dementia are not able to be modified, there are concrete ways many individuals and governments can reduce the risk of dementia.
- If the onset of dementia could be delayed by 10 years, over 4 million new cases of dementia could be avoided by 2050.
- Delaying the onset of dementia could also have an enormous impact on caregiving for people living with dementia in Canada. A 10-year delay in onset of dementia could reduce the number of caregiving hours needed by almost 1 billion hours per year.
“We hope this study will remind Canadians that dementia is not part of the normal process of aging and that there are steps people and institutions can take to reduce risks of dementia,” says Kevin Noel, Interim CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “Governments at all levels also have a role to play by providing funds for dementia research and supporting programs that help people living with dementia and their caregivers to have the best possible quality of life.”
“This Landmark Study is crucial for all Canadians and policy makers, alike. Dementia promises to be devastating in the coming years and we must do all we can to reduce risk and prevent dementia,” says Cathy Barrick, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
You can read the full report by visiting https://alzheimer.ca/Landmark-Study.
About the Alzheimer Society
The Alzheimer Society is a Federation of 26 community support providers, operating in every corner of Ontario. We supported over 100,000 clients last year, including both care partners and people living with dementia. We provide education and training to physicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as the general public. With hundreds of staff and thousands of volunteers, we seek to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and promote research into a cure and disease-altering treatment.
SOURCE Alzheimer Society of Ontario
For further information: Please contact: Cathy Barrick, Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer Society of Ontario, [email protected], 416-347-6240
COVID Outbreak at Meno-Ya-Win in Sioux Lookout – ckdr.net
Sioux Lookout’s Meno Ya Win Health Centre has declared a Covid-19 Outbreak after two patients were diagnosed with the virus.
Both patients have been in-patients for a long period of time, which indicates they contracted COVID-19 while at the hospital.
Effective immediately, visitation will be limited at SLMHC to two (2) designated visitors per patient.
Contact tracing is also underway at SLMHC. Anyone who is identified as a risk has been contacted.
“We have processes in place to provide the safest possible environment for our patients, staff and physicians. Our priority is to see this outbreak contained quickly,” says Douglas Semple, SLMHC President and CEO.
In addition to continuing daily screening and adherence to personal protective equipment standards, such as masks and eye protection,
SLMHC’s housekeeping department is following policies relating to increased cleaning and proper handling of an outbreak.
Every 22 minutes a Canadian woman dies of a heart attack. Most of those deaths are preventable – CBC News
Every 22 minutes, a woman in Canada dies of a heart attack.
But the majority don’t have to, experts say, warning that more women will die unnecessarily if the medical community doesn’t tailor care to their needs.
“We have one of the best health-care systems in the world, and we’re not serving women,” said Dr. Paula Harvey, a cardiologist and head of the department of medicine at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. “We have to do better.”
Heart disease is a top killer of women in Canada, and the push to change that is more urgent than ever. Harvey says more younger women are presenting with classic high risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
“There’s this trend to cardiovascular risk factors starting to be a problem at an earlier age, and I find that disturbing,” said Harvey. “I never used to see a woman in her 40s with high blood pressure. I’m starting to see that, and that’s going to mean that we’ll have more premature heart disease.”
How hormone levels affect heart health
Some studies have already found the heart attack rate among women aged 35-54 has gone up.
Lifestyle factors play a role in the trend, but the threat itself is broader — the majority of Canadian women have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Women with diabetes and those who come from certain racial or ethnic backgrounds are at higher risk, but fluctuating hormones can wreak havoc with any woman’s heart health, especially as they enter menopause and levels of the heart-protecting hormone, estrogen, start to drop.
That transition starts when women are in their 40s and can catch many off guard, Harvey said.
“I do think that a lot of that comes from the fact that women are still not being educated, they’re not being counselled, they don’t understand the impact of our changing biology with age that puts them at cardiovascular risk.”
Heart disease kills 5 times more women than breast cancer
According to the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, 24,000 Canadian women die of heart disease every year. That’s nearly five times more deaths than from breast cancer.
Yet when it comes to heart health, experts say it’s still largely a man’s world: Women remain underdiagnosed, undertreated and unaware.
“It is a glass ceiling. It’s a glass ceiling for awareness, it’s a glass ceiling for research and for how we provide care,” said Karin Humphries, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia whose has researched gender and sex differences in the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease.
The basic medical model is still male-dominated and contributes to a general lack of awareness among women and health-care providers, Humphries said. And while awareness is growing, it’s not growing fast enough, she said.
“Everything in our culture emphasizes that cardiovascular disease is a man’s disease. I mean, think of Hollywood. Every time you see a heart attack, it’s on the male, right? You’re not watching a woman in a Hollywood movie having a heart attack.”
Heart attack symptoms more subtle in women
Part of the problem is that women’s symptoms can be different than those of men and can be attributed by both doctors and women themselves to stress and busy lives. For example, months before a heart attack, women may experience unusual fatigue, trouble sleeping, indigestion and anxiety.
Even during a heart attack, the symptoms can be subtle. Women are more likely to have chest discomfort, shortness of breath and even neck, jaw or back pain.
“I was still, you know, two months after my event, still reeling from that shock,” said Risa Mallory, who had a heart attack four years ago at age 61.
Mallory had been experiencing discomfort in her chest for several days, she said, but it came and went and didn’t seem so bad — until it suddenly was.
“On the fourth day, I experienced chest pain. It had changed. It was much more severe. I was feeling nauseous and I had this sense of fight or flight,” she recalled. “I remember sitting in the car, rocking, and saying, ‘We gotta go, we gotta go, we gotta go.'”
Mallory ended up in the emergency room and got help in time. But it was a close call. Heart disease runs in her family, she was aware of her own risk, but she still almost missed the warning signs.
That’s something that happens often, according to a 2018 Heart and Stroke Foundation report. The report found that early signs of a heart attack were missed in 78 per cent of women.
“What it tells us is that there are still a lot of inequalities and biases at the community level and the health-care provider level,” said Dr. Thais Coutinho, a cardiologist and chair of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Many women are in the dark, Coutinho said, in large part because much of the medical community is too.
Most cardiac research done with male patients
Even now, the majority of heart disease research is conducted on men — despite important physiological differences, she said. Women’s hearts and arteries are smaller, and plaque builds in different ways. Standard diagnostic tests like angiograms and stress tests are often not sensitive enough to detect heart disease in women.
“That assumption still permeates through the cardiovascular research community that women are small men,” Coutinho said. “I do a lot of sex- and gender-based research, or women-specific cardiovascular research, and it’s amazing the differences that you find if you look. All of the gaps that we know exist from awareness, diagnosis, treatment, care, rehabilitation, education, everything — it starts with knowledge.
“So if we don’t even know what the differences are, we don’t know how to manage them.”
‘There’s something wrong with my heart’
Samia Janna was 48 when she first went to her doctor in 2018 because of shortness of breath. The Ottawa-area woman was prescribed anti-anxiety medication and told to take it easy. But the symptoms persisted.
Janna went back to her doctor twice more, only to be given the same advice.
“At that time, I said, ‘No, I know it’s not anxiety,'” Janna says. “I know myself. There’s something wrong with my heart.”
Blood tests didn’t flag anything, but Janna insisted on an ultrasound to check her heart. It revealed Janna’s heart was enlarged and causing damage to her heart valves. She ended up having two open heart surgeries.
Janna says it was hard to let go of her anger about the fact that her concerns were initially dismissed. She joined a cardiac rehabilitation program and says it helped her regain her physical and emotional strength. “If it wasn’t for them. I would have been in a different place now, in a very dark place.”
Female patients less likely to get cardiac rehab
Research finds women are up to 50 per cent less likely than men to attend cardiac rehab programs, often because they don’t get referred to one or face other barriers to follow-up care, including a tendency to minimize their own needs.
It helps explain why women who have a heart attack are more likely to die or experience a second heart attack compared to men.
Harvey says research is beginning to uncover the biological, medical, and social reasons for this — and the hope is that new knowledge will lead to advances in tailoring prevention and treatment to women’s needs.
But she points out, 80 per cent of heart attacks can be prevented and women can decrease major risk factors by managing high blood pressure, not smoking and sticking to a healthy weight. Harvey says women should also urge their doctors to check their hearts.
“We need to be empowered,” she says. “Knowledge is power. Advocacy is power. And do what you can so that you are aware of cardiovascular risk.”
And though prevention is key, Humphries says women should not hesitate to get help if they feel something is wrong.
“Call 911 and ask for help. Don’t worry about, you know, taking up time for health-care providers. They’re there to help you. And if you find out there’s nothing wrong with you, that’s wonderful. But absolutely do not hesitate and call 911.”
COVID-19 lockdown linked to HIV spike among some drug users, study says – Global News
The study by University of British Columbia researchers says that while reduced social interaction during the March-May 2020 lockdown worked to reduce HIV transmission, that may not have “outweighed” the increase caused by reduced access to services.
The study, published in Lancet Regional Health, found that fewer people started HIV antiretroviral therapy or undertook viral load testing under lockdown, while visits to overdose prevention services and safe consumption sites also decreased.
The overall number of new HIV diagnoses in B.C. continues a decades-long decline. But Dr. Jeffrey Joy, lead author of the report published on Friday, said he found a “surprising” spike in transmission among some drug users during lockdown.
Joy said transmission rates for such people had previously been fairly stable for about a decade.
“That’s because there’s been really good penetration of treatment and prevention services into those populations,” he said in an interview.
B.C. was a global leader in epidemic monitoring, which means the results are likely applicable elsewhere, Joy said.
“We are uniquely positioned to find these things,” he said. “The reason that I thought it was important to do this study and get it out there is (because) it’s probably happening everywhere, but other places don’t monitor their HIV epidemic in the same way that we do.”
Rachel Miller, a co-author of the report, said health authorities need to consider innovative solutions so the measures “put in place to address one health crisis don’t inadvertently exacerbate another.”
“These services are the front-line defence in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Many of them faced disruptions, closures, capacity limits and other challenges,” Miller said in a news release.
“Maintaining access and engagement with HIV services is absolutely essential to preventing regression in epidemic control and unnecessary harm.”
The Health Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Researchers said the spike among “select groups” could be attributed to a combination of factors, including housing instability and diminished trust, increasing barriers for many people who normally receive HIV services.
British Columbia is set to become the first province in Canada to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs in January, after receiving a temporary federal exemption in May.
Joy said this decision, alongside measures like safe supply and safe needle exchanges, will make a difference preventing similar issues in the future.
“The take-home message here is, in times of crisis and public health emergency or other crises, we need to support those really vulnerable populations more, not less,” he said.
“Minimally, we need to give them continuity and the access to their services that they depend on. Otherwise, it just leads to problems that can have long, long-term consequences.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2022.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
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