Given its evolution, the number of people with dementia could reach 100 million in 2050. But researchers suggest that there are ways to limit the risk.
The number of cases has more than doubled in the world in twenty-six years. People with cognitive impairment have increased from 20.2 million in 1990 to 43.8 million in 2016. This is the alarming finding of an article published in The Lancet Neurology in November 2018, led by the universities of Melbourne (Australia) and Washington (United States). But the picture is not all black. In 2016, 22.3% of healthy years lost due to these diseases would be due to modifiable risk factors, according to the researchers.
The study confirms that dementia , like Alzheimer’s disease, is more common in the elderly. From the age of 50, their prevalence doubles even every five years. But above all, they found that more than 20% of the “total years of life lost due to dementia” can be attributed to four risk factors that can be addressed: overweight, hyperglycaemia, sweet drinks and smoking.
“The importance of these risks for preventing or delaying dementia is clear,” says Prof. Cassandra Szoeke of the University of Melbourne and the main author of the study. According to the researchers, the first signs of the pathology would appear at least 20 to 30 years before its diagnosis. The professor emphasizes the importance of long-term longitudinal studies to determine when intervention is needed to prevent the disease. The study shows for now that maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and monitoring blood pressure limits some of the risks.
By 2050, the number of people with dementia could reach 100 million people, alert researchers. “Chronic diseases are becoming the leading cause of death and disability in the world, and while we continue to work on new treatments every day to fight the disease, we really need to focus more on choices in our health, which, to our knowledge, go without saying,” says Cassandra Szoeke.