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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Dementia cases expected to almost triple across the world by 2050

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By 2050, more than 153 million people could have dementia, up from 57 million in 2019, experts are warning.

The predicted rise is largely down to ageing and growing populations.

But unhealthy lifestyles contribute too, the researchers say in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Risk factors that urgently need addressing and account for more than six million of the projected increase include high rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes, they say.

The study, which looks at 195 countries, aims to give governments an idea of what resources and support may be needed and what action might help.

Dementia is already the seventh leading cause of death in the world, as well as one of the leading causes of disability and dependency among the elderly.

But it is not unavoidable. The researchers emphasise the importance of improving access to education in countries around the world, claiming that their projected figure for 2050 has already been reduced by 6.2 million based on what is expected to happen in this area.

They are less optimistic about the effects of obesity, high blood sugar, and smoking, and have already factored in an additional seven million cases linked to those factors by 2050.

Quitting smoking

“We need to focus more on prevention and control of risk factors before they result in dementia,” said lead author Emma Nichols of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the United States. Even minor advances in preventing or delaying the progression of dementia would pay off handsomely.

“In order to have the greatest impact, we must reduce exposure to the major risk factors in each country.”

“For most, this means expanding locally appropriate, low-cost programmes that promote healthier diets, more exercise, smoking cessation, and improved access to education.”

The study predicts cases will rise:

  • in eastern sub-Saharan Africa, from nearly 660,000 to more than three million – mainly driven by population growth
  • in North Africa and the Middle East, from almost three million to nearly 14 million
  • in the higher-income Asia Pacific region, from 4·8 million to 7·4 million
  • in Western Europe, from almost eight million to nearly 14 million
  • in the UK, from just over 907,000 to almost 1.6 million

 

SourceBBC
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