Nearly 50 million people around the world suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's according to the latest estimates. AFP
The number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to increase by upward of 40 percent over the next several years, according to new data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The number of dementia patients is projected to rise to 78 million globally by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050, according to a newly released analysis from WHO.
Currently, more than 55 million people suffer from the degenerative neurological disease, WHO noted, an epidemic that the organization estimated costs $1.3 trillion a year on a global scale.
"Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence and dignity, but it also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "The world is failing people with dementia, and that hurts all of us."
World health officials said they are on pace to fall short of projected goals agreed upon in 2015 to combat dementia, adding that a majority of patients are in low- or middle-income countries.
WHO expert Tarun Dua said during a news briefing that eliminating risk factors is key to stemming dementia.
"These are the things that we can do to promote our brain health and decrease the cognitive decline and the risk for dementia. These are things that can be started at a younger age," Dua said.