China neglects millions of their Alzheimer’s patients

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the quickest-growing and one of the most widespread disease to exist. In China more cases have been rising substantially, taking into account that in 2015 there were 9.5 million documented patients on the mainland, excluding the countless undiagnosed cases. An estimated 3 million Chinese are diagnosed with this disease annually, noting that most patients originate from rural areas. The common widespread view of AD in China is that it is an inevitable consequence of aging, but in recent times CCTV has been airing advertisements with aims of raising awareness about AD as a disease.

Comparing China’s statistics to the US, the US has half the number of patients China has and 73,000 beds in treatment centres, whereas China has fewer than 200. In the US it is a $250 billion industry and China has barely begun, as in 2015 it was reported that the amount of anti-AD drug market in China was an estimated $2.9 billion.

AD is estimated to cost China up to $1 trillion by 2050 (an estimate made in 2016) but may be potentially subdued slightly by new implementations of government policies towards innovative elderly care devices.

A pattern linking humans and their susceptibility to developing AD are that; people with high education levels are less likely to cultivate; due to engagement of the brain in complex ways which has been proven as an inoculation against AD. Consequently, people dwelling in rural areas are more prone to vulnerability, especially women as they tend to have longer lifespans.

Disregarding the obvious benefit of allocating more resources towards AD care; which is the ability to provide basic and subsequently developed care for Chinese patients; China can experience a variety of benefits by doing so. For instance, if deciding to specialize in AD care, China will undoubtedly grow into the world’s largest market for it, becoming one of the largest source of employment in China. Additionally, if China decides to enter the AD market, they will be entering relatively late which gives them the benefit of being able to learn from previous mistakes and effective methods developed in, the US, Europe, and Asia. Taking Japan as an example, they have built specialist nursing homes and community centres as well for AD patients.

One thought on “China neglects millions of their Alzheimer’s patients

  • mm
    10 Nov 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Agreed, though China does have a fast-growing economy, it does tend to neglect its dependent population. More subsidies given to AD research and care will definitely have a significant impact on the welfare of elderly AD sufferers and improve living standards for the dependent population in China.

    More study directed toward the study of the brain could also advance China’s medical knowledge. China currently ranks a disappointing 144th place on “World Health Organization’s Ranking of the World’s Health Systems”, even worse than Haiti and Mongolia. More funding towards AD can deepen our understanding of more brain-related diseases, benefiting society in the long run.

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