Alzheimer's crisis: Every 3.2 seconds, new patient emerges

September 21, 2023, 8:53 pm

ANKARA – Every 3.2 seconds, a new person is added to the more than 55 million Alzheimer's patients worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

According to the WHO data, there are more than 55 million Alzheimer's patients in the world, and this number is expected to rise to 139 million by 2050 due to the emergence of approximately 10 million new cases each year.

As the elderly population increases worldwide, Alzheimer's disease, which is experiencing a significant increase, raises awareness and supports those combating it every year on September 21st within the scope of "World Alzheimer's Day."

Anadolu compiled information about Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, known as the "7th leading cause of death."

Alzheimer's, a medical condition that develops as a result of the death of brain cells, leading to memory loss, dementia, and a general decrease in cognitive functions over time, has been described by German psychiatrist and pathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and is considered the "nightmare of the 21st century."

The disease is characterized as a neurodegenerative condition accompanied by neuropsychiatric symptoms and behavioral changes, described as a decrease in daily activities and a decline in cognitive abilities, and there is no known definitive treatment method.

Global cost exceeds $1.3 trillion

More than 60 percent of those affected by Alzheimer's live in low and middle-income countries, and every year, 10 million new cases are added to the number of Alzheimer's patients.

This means that a new person is added to Alzheimer's patients every 3.2 seconds, and as a result, it is expected that the number of Alzheimer's patients will reach 139 million by 2050.

The current annual global cost of Alzheimer's disease, which is currently over USD1.3 trillion, is expected to rise to USD2.8 trillion by 2030.

Accordingly, it is predicted that by 2030, the annual global cost of Alzheimer's disease will surpass the current annual gross domestic product (GDP) of Italy, which is the world's 8th largest economy.

Alzheimer's disease is known for memory loss, dementia, and a general decrease in cognitive functions due to the death of brain cells over time. It is more commonly seen in older age.

According to a 2021 report by Alzheimer's Disease International (AZI), it is estimated that 75 percent of dementia patients worldwide remain undiagnosed. Lack of awareness is cited as a significant obstacle to diagnosis, with undiagnosed rates reaching up to 90% in some low and middle-income countries.

Treatment and care

There is currently no existing treatment method to cure or alter the progressive course of dementia. In addition, numerous new treatment methods are being investigated at various stages of clinical trials.

Research suggests that people can reduce their risk of dementia by regularly exercising, avoiding smoking and alcohol use, maintaining a healthy diet, and controlling their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. (Anadolu)