Neurodegenerative Disease The Fastest-Growing Cause Of Death
Someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds. There were an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia diagnoses in 2015 and this number is believed to be close to 50 million people in 2017. This number will almost double every 20 years, reaching 75 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050. The X factor is the number of people who have dementia, but have not been diagnosed. It’s estimated that the real number is drastically higher.
Much of the increase will be in developing countries. Already 58 percent of people with dementia live in low and middle income countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 68 percent.
The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia is US$818 billion in 2015, which represents 1.09 percent of global GDP. By 2018, the global cost of dementia will rise above a US$1 trillion.
This figure includes costs attributed to informal care (unpaid care provided by family and others), direct costs of social care (provided by community care professionals, and in residential home settings) and the direct costs of medical care (the costs of treating dementia and other conditions in primary and secondary care).
In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that Alzheimer’s disease is already costing citizens $277 billion annually, including $186 billion in Medicare and Medicaid payments.
Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease as recorded on death certificates increased 123 percent, while deaths from the number one cause of death (heart disease) decreased 11 percent. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease isn’t always diagnosed and it isn’t accurately reported as the cause of death in the majority of cases. Eighty-three percent of the help provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
Read the full story about the Alzheimer’s disease epidemic.