Global dementia cases set to triple by 2050 unless countries address risk factors

The Lancet

Peer-reviewed / Observational and modelling study / People

  • First comprehensive analysis forecasts dementia prevalence in 195 countries and territories and examines the impact of expected trends in exposure to four important risk factors—smoking, obesity, high blood sugar, and low education.
  • By 2050, 153 million people are expected to be living with dementia worldwide, up from 57 million in 2019, largely due to population growth and population ageing.
  • Dementia cases will rise in every country, with the smallest estimated increases in high-income Asia Pacific (53%) and western Europe (74%), and the largest growth in north Africa and the Middle East (367%) and eastern sub-Saharan Africa (357%).
  • Experts project that improved access to education could lead to 6 million fewer cases of dementia worldwide by 2050.
  • However, they caution that this decrease would be offset by a projected 7 million additional dementia cases linked to projected rates of obesity, high blood sugar, and smoking.

    Authors call for more aggressive prevention efforts to reduce dementia risk through lifestyle factors, such as education, diet, and exercise, as well as by expanding much-needed health and social care resources.

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