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Dementia threat

Dementia threat
Highlights

As the global population ages, the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050. -'Nearly 10...

As the global population ages, the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050. "Nearly 10 million people develop dementia each year, 6 million of them in low- and middle-income countries," says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "The suffering that results is enormous. This is an alarm call: we must pay greater attention to this growing challenge and ensure that all people living with dementia, wherever they live, get the care that they need."

Dementia is an umbrella term for several diseases that are mostly progressive, affecting memory, other cognitive abilities and behaviour and interfering significantly with a person’s ability to maintain the activities of daily living. Women are more often affected than men. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and accounts for 60 to 70 percent of cases. The other common types are vascular dementia and mixed forms.

The estimated annual global cost of dementia is $818 billion, equivalent to more than one percent of global gross domestic product. The total cost includes direct medical costs, social care and informal care (loss of income of carers). By 2030, the cost is expected to have more than doubled, to two trillion dollars, a cost that could undermine social and economic development and overwhelm health and social services, including long-term care systems.

Just 14 percent of countries reporting data could indicate the number of people being diagnosed with dementia. Previous studies suggest that as many as 90 percent of people with dementia in low- and middle-income countries are unaware of their status.

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