The number of people worldwide suffering from dementia is expecting to rise to 78 million by 2030, according to a report published Thursday by the World Health Organization.
That’s a 40% increase from the estimated number of people worldwide currently suffering from the neurological disorder. As populations age, the number of people with dementia is expected to rise to a whopping 139 million by 2050, the WHO said.
Dementia can be caused by a variety of diseases or injuries that affect the brain like a stroke, brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease. It is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and a major cause of disability and dependency among older people.
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While there is no treatment, developing dementia is not an inevitable consequence of aging, the WHO said. Numerous studies have shown the risk of acquiring it can be reduced by staying physically active, not smoking, drinking moderately, and maintaining a healthy diet.
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The expected rising numbers of people with dementia will have significant social and economic consequences. In 2019, the estimated total global societal cost of dementia was $1.3 trillion. Those costs are expected to be nearly $3 trillion by 2030 as the number of people living with dementia and care costs increase.