Dementia cases in world are expected to triple

GENEVA — Cases of dementia — and the heavy social and financial burdens associated with them — are set to soar in the coming decades as life expectancy and medical care improve in poorer countries, the World Health Organization says.

Some 35.6 million people were living with dementia in 2010, but that figure is set to double to 65.7 million by 2030, the U.N. health agency said Wednesday. In 2050, it expects the number of dementia cases to triple to 115.4 million.

Most dementia patients are cared for by relatives, who shoulder the bulk of the current estimated annual cost of $604 billion, WHO said.

In its first substantial report on the issue, the agency said the financial burden is expected to rise even faster than the number of cases. “The catastrophic cost drives millions of households below the poverty line,” warned the agency’s director-general, Margaret Chan.

Dementia, a brain illness that affects memory, behavior and the ability to perform even common tasks, affects mostly older people. About 70 percent of cases are believed to be caused by Alzheimer’s.

In the last few decades dementia has become a major public health issue in rich countries. But with populations in poor and middle-income countries projected to grow and age rapidly over the coming decades, the agency appealed for greater public awareness and better support programs everywhere.

The share of cases in poor and middle-income countries is expected to rise from just under 60 percent today, to over 70 percent by 2050.

So far, only eight countries — including Britain, France and Japan — have national programs to address dementia, WHO said. Several others, such as the United States, have plans at the state level.

More in Local News

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

Five-month-old Felix Shope lies in his stroller ready to go home from the Snohomish County Courthouse with his new mom and dad, Alicia and Josh Shope of Edmonds. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
16 youngsters get the gift of home on National Adoption Day

A joyful day at county courthouse tempered with the great need for stable, loving homes.

Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in August.

City Council OKs initial funding for Smith Avenue parking lot

The site of the former Smith Street Mill is being developed in anticipation of light rail.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Most Read