In a new study from the University of Washington, researchers found the number of adults living with dementia worldwide is expected to nearly triple, from an estimated 57 million in 2019 to 153 million in 2050, due primarily to population growth and population ageing.
The study also looks at four risk factors for dementia—smoking, obesity, high blood sugar, and low education—and highlights the impact they will have on future trends.
Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death worldwide and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally—with global costs in 2019 estimated at more than US$1 trillion.
Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing.
A Lancet Commission published in 2020 suggested that up to 40% of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed if exposure to 12 known risk factors were eliminated:
Low education, high blood pressure, hearing impairment, smoking, midlife obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, social isolation, excessive alcohol consumption, head injury, and air pollution.
The study predicts that the greatest increase in prevalence will occur in eastern sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of people living with dementia is expected to climb by 357%.
Similarly, in North Africa and the Middle East, cases are predicted to grow by 367%.
By contrast, the smallest increase in the number of dementia cases is projected in the high-income Asia Pacific, where the number of cases is expected to grow by 53%.
Similarly, in western Europe, the number of dementia cases is expected to rise by 74%.
Globally, more women are affected by dementia than men. In 2019, women with dementia outnumbered men with dementia 100 to 69. And this pattern is expected to remain in 2050.
Countries with the highest percentage change in total number of dementia cases 2019–50
1) Qatar (1926%)
2) United Arab Emirates (1795%)
3) Bahrain (1084%)
4) Oman (943%)
5) Saudi Arabia (898%)
6) Kuwait (850%)
7) Iraq (559%)
8) Maldives (554%)
9) Jordan (522%)
10) Equatorial Guinea (498%)
Countries with the lowest percentage change in total number of dementia cases 2019–50
1) Japan (27%)
2) Bulgaria (37%)
3) Serbia (38%)
4) Lithuania (44%)
5) Greece (45%)
6) Latvia (47%)
7) Croatia (55%)
8) Ukraine (55%)
9) Italy (56%)
10) Finland (58%)
If you care about brain health, please read studies about 12 things that could prevent dementia effectively, and keeping your brain active may delay Alzheimer’s dementia 5 years.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antibiotic drug that could effectively treat common dementia, and results showing that Mediterranean diet may strongly prevent dementia, memory loss.
The study is published in The Lancet Public Health. One author of the study is Emma Nichols.
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