Study: Global dementia cases have doubled since 1990

By Tauren Dyson

Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Since 1990, Dementia has doubled in the global community due largely to unhealthy living, a study says.

A new study, published Thursday in The Lancet Neurology, found that the number of people with dementia grew from 20.2 million to 43.8 million between 1990 and 2016.


The researchers report that roughly 22.3 percent of healthy years were robbed from people with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia due to modifiable risk factors.

"My advice is if there is just one thing we should all do it's move more," Cassandra Szoeke, a consultant neurologist at Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia and study author, told UPI.

Szoeke says also that the rise in global dementia is also attributable to a higher number of diagnoses since 1990. A rise in life expectancy by six years and growth in the world's population by 30 percent since 1990 could explain those higher overall dementia numbers.

"Some countries where the aging demographic is expected to rise 300 percent will see the greatest rise in the number of people living with dementia. Their countries will see the greatest impact in need for additional services and support," Szoeke said.


But many of the underlying causes of dementia are preventable. Szoeke points to high blood sugar, being overweight, heavy sugar consumption and smoking as some of the main risk factors that contribute to dementia

Szoeke has called on the global community to train more health professionals and to provide more facilities that support quality of life.

She says since dementia develops over 20 to 30 years, investigative research needs to overlap that same timeframe to figure out how to curb the growing trend.

"It's true that many chronic diseases are associated with higher chances of dementia. A W.H.O. report highlights 80 percent of chronic diseases are preventable," Szoeke said.

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