Dementia: the number of people affected is expected to almost triple by 2050

The cases of dementia, a syndrome characterized in particular by a degradation of memory and reasoning, are on the increase in the world, and yet only a small minority of countries have a plan of fight, worries the WHO.

According to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), dementia, the most common cause of which is Alzheimer’s disease, affects more than 55 million people worldwide. This number is expected to increase to 78 million by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050 due to the aging of the population.

Dementia, a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in the ability to perform daily activities, affects approximately 90% of those over 65 years of age. However, it is not an inevitable consequence of aging.

If there is no treatment, studies have shown that about 40% of cases could be avoided or delayed by exercising regularly, not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol use, eating healthily, controlling weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Only a quarter of WHO countries have a plan

Other risk factors also include depression, low education, social isolation and cognitive inactivity.

Yet the report finds that only a quarter (26%) of WHO member states have a dementia plan, half of which are in Europe, summarized Katrin Seeher of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use. psychoactive at the WHO, in a press conference.

In particular, she explained that many of these plans are about to expire or have ended.

“We need more attention from governments to develop dementia policies,” said Seeher.

However, the expert recognized that it was necessary “to be realistic and to see that dementia competes with many other public health problems”, especially in developing countries. Also, WHO encourages disadvantaged countries to integrate the problem of dementia into public health policies relating to non-communicable diseases or into old age policy strategies.

Almost 60% of people with dementia live in a low- and middle-income country. According to the report, the global costs related to dementia were estimated in 2019 at 1.3 trillion dollars (1.096 billion euros). This number is expected to climb to $ 2.8 trillion (2.360 billion euros) in 2030.

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