by Harry Wilmerding
The total number of people diagnosed with dementia will increase by over 40% by 2030, the World Health Organization predicted on Thursday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 55 million currently live with dementia, according to a recent report. The WHO expects that number to reach 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050.
Dementia, a neurological disorder affecting memory and other cognitive functions, carries a “global cost” of approximately $1.3 trillion annually, according to the WHO. Events such as strokes, severe head injuries, or a variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, may lead to dementia.
The WHO expects the global cost of dementia to rise to $1.7 trillion by 2030.
“Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence and dignity, but also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the report.
“The world is failing people with dementia, and that hurts all of us. Four years ago, governments agreed a clear set of targets to improve dementia care. But targets alone are not enough. We need concerted action to ensure that all people with dementia are able to live with the support and dignity they deserve,” Ghebreyesus continued.
The WHO also acknowledged that the disease is impacting low-income countries.
“Dementia truly is a global public health concern and not just in high-income countries,” said Katrin Seeher, a mental health expert with the WHO, according to Reuters. “In fact, over 60% of people with dementia live in low- and middle-income countries.”
Medication, hygiene products, assistive technologies and household adjustments are more widely available in high-income countries, which also see a greater level of reimbursement, the report said.
Although there is no current cure for dementia, the WHO says that people may control risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, diet, and consumption of alcohol and tobacco in order to reduce the risk for dementia, according to Reuters.
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Harry Wilmerding is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.