Objective: To determine the prevalence of dementia and dementia types in Jamaica.
Methods: An embedded case-control design was used to investigate dementia within the ageing population. Cases (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] scores of ≤ 20) and controls (MMSE scores of > 20) were evaluated using DSM-IV protocol and magnetic resonance imaging. Prevalences (crude and age-adjusted) were calculated and distribution of dementia by type described.
Results: Dementia prevalence was 5.9%. Alzheimer’s pattern dementia accounted for 61.8% and vascular dementia 32.4%. However, vascular disease was prominent in 45.5% of the Alzheimer’s cases. Female gender and increasing age were associated with higher rates of dementia. Dementia was 38 times more likely in participants with MMSE scores below 20.
Conclusion: This first nationally representative study indicated that dementia rates in Jamaica were comparable with regional and global estimates. Regardless of the dementia type, vascular change was pervasive and suggested that synergistic efforts should be made to address underlying contributory factors. Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk reduction should be deliberately pursued as integral adjuncts to dementia risk reduction.