Why Does Alzheimer’s Disease Become Critical

Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.

More than 6 million Americans, many of them age 65 and older, are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease. That’s more individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease than the population of a large American city. Many more people experience Alzheimer’s in their lives as family members and friends of those with the disease.

Source: CDC’s report of Leading causes of death and numbers of deaths, by sex, race, and Hispanic origin: United States, 1980 and 2018
Source: CDC’s report of “Age-adjusted death rates for selected causes of death, by sex, race, and Hispanic origin: United States, selected years 1950–2018”

Statistics & Facts

Someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds. There are over 55 million people worldwide living with dementia in 2020. This number will almost double every 20 years, reaching 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050. Much of the increase will be in developing countries. Already 60% of people with dementia live in low and middle income countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 71%. The fastest growth in the elderly population is taking place in China, India, and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbors.

Figures

  • There are currently estimated to be over 55 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to 139 million by 2050, with the greatest increases in low and middle income countries.
  • Already 60% of people with dementia live in low and middle income countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 71%.
  • There are over 10 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, implying one new case every 3.2 seconds.
  • Up to three quarters of those with dementia worldwide have not received a diagnosis.
  • Almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point and 1 in 4 people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia.
  • Almost62% of healthcare practitioners worldwide incorrectly think that dementia is part of normal ageing.
  • 35% of carers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member.
  • Over50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role.

Economic impact of dementia

The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia was US$ 818 billion in 2015, which represented 1.09% of global GDP at that time. The annual global cost of dementia is now above US$ 1.3 trillion and is expected to rise to US$ 2.8 trillion by 2050

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).

Direct medical care costs account for roughly 20% of global dementia costs, while direct social sector costs and informal care costs each account for roughly 40%. The relative contribution of informal care is greatest in the African regions and lowest in North America, Western Europe and some South American regions, while the reverse is true for social sector costs.