Dementia cases 'set to treble worldwide' by 2050

Elderly woman with dementia

Related Stories

The number of people living with dementia worldwide is set to treble by 2050, according to a new analysis.

Alzheimer's Disease International says 44 million people live with the disease, but that figure will increase to 135 million by 2050.

The figures were released ahead of the G8 dementia summit in London next week.

In the UK, dementia research receives one eighth of the amount of funding that is spent on cancer, which charities say is insufficient.

What is dementia?

  • Dementia is an umbrella term describing a serious deterioration in mental functions, such as memory, language, orientation and judgement
  • There are many types, but Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for two-thirds of cases, is the most well-known
  • There is no cure for any type of dementia - drugs can ease some of the symptoms, but do not tackle the underlying diseases
  • Patients may have had a decade of brain cells being destroyed before any symptoms appear

Alzheimer's Disease International expects increasing life expectancies to drive a surge in cases in poor and middle-income countries, particularly in South East Asia and Africa.

Currently 38% of cases are in rich countries. But that balance is predicted shift significantly by 2050, with 71% of patients being in poor and middle-income countries.

The report says most governments are "woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic".

Marc Wortmann, the executive director at Alzheimer Disease International, said: "It's a global epidemic and it is only getting worse - if we look into the future the numbers of elderly people will rise dramatically."

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the UK's Alzheimer's Society, said: "Dementia is fast becoming the biggest health and social care challenge of this generation.

"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."

Rebecca Wood, the chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Increasing numbers of people affected by dementia worldwide is cause for alarm, but research can stem the tide.

"An intervention to delay the onset of Alzheimer's by five years could halve the number of people who die with the disease, having a transformative impact on millions of people's lives.

"This progress can only come through research and these figures are a timely reminder of the scale of the challenge ahead of the G8 dementia research summit."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


BBC Future

(Thinkstock)

Why all babies love peekaboo

Lessons learned behind the laughter Read more...

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.