Authors: Alice Weatherston
Updated estimates of global dementia impact released today by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) in the World Alzheimer Report 2015 have indicated rises in prevalence, incidence and cost of the condition, with an increasing impact in low and middle income countries.
Final estimates from the study have placed the number of individuals living with dementia across the globe at approximately 46.8 million people; a figure that is also predicted to nearly double every 20 years going forward (74.7 million by 2030 & 131.5 million by 2050). This equates to more than 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year and one new case every 3.2 seconds.
The report also highlights the societal and economic cost of dementia, with current annual estimates at $818 billion (US), a number that is projected to rise to make dementia a ‘trillion dollar disease’ in just 3 years. These estimates represent a 35% increase in the cost of dementia since the World Alzheimer Report 2010 which placed annual spends at $604 billion (US) worldwide. As put by ADI; if global dementia care were a country, it would be the 18th largest economy in the world, and would exceed the market values of companies such as Apple (US $742 billion) and Google (US $368 billion).
Importantly, the report also indicates that many of these changes are taking place in low and middle income countries, where it is now estimated that 58% of all individuals living with dementia worldwide are based. This is expected to rise to 68% by 2050 due to population growth as well as an ageing population globally.
The updated estimates included in the report were based on new research led by Martin Prince from King’s College London’s Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care (UK), who also authored the report. “We now believe that we underestimated the current and future scale of the epidemic by 12–13% in the 2009/2010 World Alzheimer Report, with costs growing more rapidly than the numbers of people affected,” explained Prince.
In conclusion, the report calls for a global work stream focusing on assisting low and middle income countries in developing awareness-raising programmes and improving access to early diagnosis and care. There is also a call for policy makers worldwide to consider a wider representation of countries and regions in addition to increasing research investment in all aspects of care, treatment, prevention and cure.
Executive Director of ADI, Marc Wortmann commented: “The rising global cost of dementia will pose serious challenges to health and social care systems all around the world. These findings demonstrate the urgent need for governments to implement policies and legislation to provide a better quality of life for people living with dementia, both now and in the future.”
The report will be launched via a live roundtable discussion on LinkedIn [http://linkedin.studiotalk.tv/show/world-alzheimer-report-2015] at 13:00 (BST) on Tuesday 25 August. The report will also be accessible at www.worldalzreport2015.org
Source: Alzheimer’s Disease International press release