The study, “Cost and Burden of Alzheimer's Disease in Portugal”, conducted by the Center for the Study of Evidence-Based Medicine (CEMBE), of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, indicates that the impact on years of life lost is greater in women, 7.6%, while in men it is 6.4%.
According to this research, which assesses the presence of the pathology in a sample of the population residing in Mainland Portugal aged 65 years or over, the country spends an average of €2 billion every year (in direct medical costs and not doctors) in combating the disease. Spending on informal caregivers alone amounts to around €1.1 billion.
The study results put in perspective two priorities for Portugal, the first “the need to reflect on the role of the informal caregiver and the importance of having strategies and public policies that guarantee the social and financial protection of this group”, but also the importance of “maintaining the focus on scientific research and on the development of treatments capable of prolonging the quality of life of patients”, says specialist Isabel Santana, cited in the press release for the study.
Isabel Santana is a full professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, where she is director of the Neurology Service of the University and Hospital Centre of Coimbra and member of the Study Group on Brain Aging and Dementia.
Alzheimer Portugal, a private social solidarity institution, also mentioned in the statement, agrees with the professor and recalls that one of the main “flags” of the association is “the recognition of dementias as a national public health priority and the implementation of Regional Plans for dementias”, in the words of Manuela Morais, president of Alzheimer Portugal.
The study is presented today in an online initiative organized by Alzheimer Portugal and which includes a debate with experts.
Alzheimer's is a progressive neurological disease and according to the CEMBE study there should be around 194 thousand people with dementia in Portugal, of which 60 to 80% are cases of Alzheimer's disease (close to 145 thousand).