December 6, 2013
Dementia Cases Continue To Rise, Expected To Hit 76 Million By 2030
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
An estimated 44 million people are currently living with dementia, and that number is expected to reach 135 million by 2050, according to a new Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) policy brief presented Thursday at the G8 Dementia Summit.
The organization’s analysis reports that the number of individuals dealing with the condition worldwide has increased 17 percent since 2010, and those figures will reach 76 million in 2030 before nearly tripling two decades later.
Furthermore, by 2050, an estimated 71 percent of people with dementia will live in low or middle income countries, ADI explained in a statement. According to BBC News health and science reporter James Gallagher, currently 38-percent of all cases are in wealthy nations.
“It's a global epidemic and it is only getting worse,” ADI's executive director Marc Wortmann said, according to CBS News. “If we look into the future the numbers of elderly people will rise dramatically. It's vital that the World Health Organization makes dementia a priority, so the world is ready to face this condition.”
Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, is a fatal and incurable condition that is difficult to treat, explained Kate Kelland of Reuters. It and other forms of dementia adversely affect a person’s memory, behavior and cognitive function, and treating the ailment currently places a fiscal burden of over $600 billion on the global economy (equally to roughly one percent of the global gross domestic product).
That financial burden will only increase, and few countries are adequately prepared for that inevitability, the report said. Martin Prince, a professor at the King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, told Reuters that only 13 countries have established national dementia plans.
He added that the disorder is “a global problem that is increasingly impacting on developing countries with limited resources and little time to develop comprehensive systems of social protection, health and social care.”
“Dementia is fast becoming the biggest health and social care challenge of this generation,” Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the UK's Alzheimer's Society, told Gallagher. “We must tackle dementia now, for those currently living with the condition across the world and for those millions who will develop dementia in the future. The G8 is our once-in-a-generation chance to conquer this condition and we must see meaningful action after the talking is over.”