Background/aims: People in Caribbean countries are thought to be at particularly high risk for dementia. Basic descriptive epidemiology of dementia is required for populations in the region to determine the validity of this hypothesis. The main objectives of the study were to assess the prevalence, types and severity of dementia among elderly people (>or=55 years old) in an urban area on the Caribbean coast of Venezuela, and to determine the gender and age distribution of affected people.
Methods: The population-based Maracaibo Aging Study included 3,657 subjects, all of whom underwent a standardized, in-person interview. 2,438 of these subjects underwent neuropsychological, neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular and nutritional assessment.
Results: The overall prevalence rate of dementia in elderly subjects was 8.04% and was not significantly different for women and men. Alzheimer's disease was the most frequent type of dementia (50%), followed by vascular dementia (27%). Of all cases of dementia, 41.84% were ranked as mild, 30.10% as moderate and 28.06% as severe.
Conclusion: The prevalence of dementia in elderly people from the Caribbean coast of Venezuela is much higher than frequencies previously reported for developing countries.
(c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.