Posted by Declan Davey
Although the past decade has brought welcome progress in how dementia is perceived and understood, there’s still a long way to go.
“Let’s talk about dementia” is Alzheimer’s Disease International’s central message for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month — and we agree with their call-to-action.
With this message in mind, we’re outlining the latest dementia statistics from around the world.
We’ll also discuss the most common forms of dementia and their level of prevalence.
The key topics you’ll read about in this article are as follows:
Feel free to share any of the information from this article with family, friends, or colleagues.
By spreading the word, we can continue to collectively beat the stigma against people with dementia.
As you may know, dementia is the term used for a group of symptoms brought about by abnormal brain changes.
Dementia isn’t a singular disease — a wide range of medical conditions can cause it.
Typical symptoms often include memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioural challenges.
46.8 million people were living with dementia five years ago.
The graph below — from the Dementia Statistics Hub — shows us the number of people living with dementia by continent.
As we can see from the data, the prevalence of dementia by continent is:
Many people think of Alzheimer’s Disease when the topic of dementia is discussed.
Alzheimer’s may be the most common type but there are more than 400 types of dementia in total.
The number of people living with dementia is predicted to double every 20 years.
75 million people are forecast to have dementia in 2030 and 131.5 million by 2050.
The impact will hit developing countries the hardest.
This is due to how fast aging populations are growing in countries such as India and China.
World Alzheimer’s Month 2020 is held in September, with the pinnacle being on September 21st — known as World Alzheimer’s Day.
2 out of 3 people around the world feel that there isn’t enough understanding in their countries about dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease International says that the purpose of World Alzheimer's Month is to:
“Unite opinion leaders, people with dementia, their carers and family, medical professionals, researchers and the media from all around the world.”
Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by nerve cell damage in the brain.
This is a result of the formation of abnormal protein clumps.
Perhaps the most important Alzheimer’s Disease statistic to know is that 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 are thought to be affected.
The prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease for people over the age of 80 rises to 1 in 6.
The progression of Alzheimer’s Disease is typically slower than other common forms of dementia. Symptoms may be mild in the first few years.
Older adults often worry about their memory, but the NHS says that mild forgetfulness is a normal part of ageing.
Getting lost, struggling to make decisions, and difficulties with word-finding or forming new memories are more concerning symptoms to investigate.
Vascular dementia isn’t as well known but is the second most common type of dementia.
In regards to vascular dementia statistics, 150,000 people are affected in the UK.
Between 5 and 10% of people living with dementia are thought to have the vascular type.
Vascular dementia can progress at different speeds depending on the cause.
An MRI scan will be able to detect the severity of vascular damage to the brain.
For example, a stroke affecting major blood vessels could lead to sudden and significant symptoms.
Whereas, a series of smaller strokes over time can cause a slower deterioration in cognitive abilities.
Often, the symptoms can be similar to Alzheimer’s Disease. They include memory loss, balance issues, confusion, and problems with communication.
Lewy Body dementia is classified by experts as the third most common type of dementia.
In terms of Lewy Body dementia statistics, 5-10% of people with dementia are diagnosed with the Lewy Body form.
The symptoms can overlap with Parkinson’s Disease and memory loss is typically less significant than in Alzheimer’s Disease.
For people with frontotemporal dementia, certain lobes of the brain shrink over time — the frontal lobe and the temporal lobe.
Behavior, language, and personality are controlled by these lobes.
Most people with frontotemporal dementia develop it earlier in life, between the ages of 40 and 65.
This rarer form of dementia can cause personality changes and often gets misdiagnosed as a psychiatric condition.
Among people under the age of 65, the frontotemporal dementia statistics are particularly high.
20% of those who develop dementia before the age of 65 are thought to be affected by the frontotemporal variety.
Dementia is much less prevalent amongst people under the age of 65, but it does happen.
The prevalence of young onset dementia is around 42,000 people in the UK.
Again, misdiagnosis can be a problem. Society generally views memory loss as being an issue only experienced by older adults.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the cause of only 34% of dementia cases in younger adults.
A family history of dementia puts people more at risk of young onset dementia, due to the higher incidence of gene mutations.
However, this is rare and less than 1 in 100 cases of dementia are due to inherited genetics.
If you’re concerned about your memory or need some advice for someone you know, you can contact us in several ways.
Phone: 01892 335 330
We also recommend that you contact your GP and other relevant health professionals about any worries you may have.
As shown in this article, dementia is becoming increasingly common around the world.
The more we can talk about it and have open discussions, the better.
Thank you for reading,
Declan Davey for Autumna
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