Study Estimates Threefold Increase in People With Dementia by 2050

By Lou Portero - Last Updated: January 26, 2022

The number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to nearly triple from 57.4 million cases in 2019 to 152.8 million cases in 2050, according to an article published in The Lancet by the GBD 2019 Dementia Forecasting Collaborators in the Lancet.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 Collaborators, which involved more than 20 contributors from different countries, predicted the prevalence of dementia based on the three main dementia risk factors: high body mass index, high fasting plasma glucose, and smoking. Using the relative risk and predicted prevalence of the risk factors, they predicted how the number of people living with dementia would change by 2050.

The study estimated that the number of people living with dementia will increase 166% by 2050 (152.6 million cases), which is nearly triple the number in 2019 (57.4 million cases). They also predicted that the global age-and sex-specific prevalence of dementia will remain stable, observing only a 0.1% change in prevalence from 2019 to 2050.

According to the team, dementia prevalence was higher in women than in men in 2019, and this pattern is expected to continue through 2050. They also observed that dementia prevalence increases with age and predicted that prevalence will double approximately every 5 years until both sexes reach age 85.

“Our study offers improved forecasts for dementia on a global scale as well as the country- level, giving policymakers and public health experts new insights to understand the drivers of these increases, based on the best available data. Emma Nicole, the lead author, writes. “These estimates can be used by national governments to make sure resources and support are available for individuals, caregivers, and health systems globally.”


Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gates Ventures.

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