healthy aging

«Second Start»: Samson Khachatryan

It is not an easy to clearly distinguish healthy aging from dementia, but well-known world research institutes and specialists are working in this direction today.

According to Samson Khachatryan, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Health, Consultant on Neurology of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, the diagnosis of dementia in our country is confirmed by narrow specialists, neurologists and psychiatrists.

In addition to studying clinical manifestations and listening to the observations of relatives, Armenian doctors also conduct an assessment on a standardized scale, evaluating the patient’s cognitive functions using special tests recognized in the world and already localized in our country.

“The level of education plays a role here. The stock of knowledge and skills accumulated throughout life, knowledge of languages is the cognitive stock that can to some extent change the situation in old age, ” the doctor assures.

According to him, dementia can also develop due to vascular disorders and some infections if problems are not fixed in time. Another important fact is that one of the main drugs for the treatment of diabetes sometimes leads to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can also cause dementia.

“If the patient’s complaints — disorientation, memory impairment, problems with perception and thinking — appear before the age of 65, then more attention is required, because before that the person was active and working and suddenly begins to change,” he explains. Mr. Khachatryan, adding that the problem can develop for other reasons, which experts should try to rule out one by one.

With mild cognitive impairment, the patient is recommended to perform brain-stimulating exercises, lead a physically active lifestyle, adjust sleep patterns and follow a diet. As for the first visit to the doctor by an elderly relative or family member, the doctor recommends in any case to gently explain and persuade, involving children in this, with whom they are more connected and more trusted.

Concerning the readiness of the healthcare system, S. Khachatryan said that work is already underway to develop methodological recommendations on the use of these assessment scales, which is a great support for the PHC sector. “The problem is already so widespread that we need the help and involvement of family doctors. They need to be prepared so that they can ensure the ongoing management of the disease,” says Samson Khachatryan, adding that the day is not far off when the primary link will also be involved in the chain of early prevention and treatment of dementia.