The number of patients with dementia will likely double in Europe by 2050, according to a recent report by Alzheimer Europe.
The report is among several large-scale European efforts to estimate dementia prevalence during the past few decades. Its estimates are similar to those for the United States, with the Alzheimer’s Association projecting the number of Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. to increase from its current estimate of 5.8 million to 14 million by 2050.
For the European report, researchers based their findings on a collaborative analysis of prevalence studies published after the conclusion of Alzheimer Europe’s previous project conducted between 2006 and 2008 and called the European Collaboration on Dementia (EuroCoDe).
“The overall prevalence rates are based on studies in which researchers proactively screened a population to identify those who had dementia,” Jean Georges, the executive director of Alzheimer Europe, told Healio Psychiatry. “The report also provides policy makers and health care professionals with an estimate of the overall number of patients with dementia they may expect in a given area or region.”
In the report, researchers noted the number of people within the European Union with dementia will double from the current estimate of 7,853,705 to 14,298,671 by 2050. Furthermore, in the wider European region, they estimated this number will increase from 9,780,678 to 18,846,286 by 2050. Despite the overall increase, this would constitute a significant reduction from earlier estimates. Since Alzheimer Europe’s 2009 EuroCoDe estimates, there has been a reduction in the dementia prevalence across all age groups of men in Europe during the past decade, and in women, apart from those aged between 75 and 79 years, there has been a similar reduction in prevalence. Researchers noted women continue to be disproportionately affected by dementia with more than double the prevalence of men.
“Other research has also consistently shown that between one-third and one-half of cases of dementia remain undiagnosed and in a significant number of people, the diagnosis is made late in the disease process,” Georges said. “Along with the need for investment in research for better treatments and prevention, there is also a great need to raise awareness in the general population and improve medical education to ensure people are diagnosed in a more timely fashion.” – by Joe Gramigna
Alzheimer’s Association. Facts and figures. www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
Alzheimer Europe. Dementia in Europe Yearbook 2019: Estimating the prevalence of dementia in Europe. www.alzheimer-europe.org/Publications/Dementia-in-Europe-Yearbooks. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
Disclosures: The authors report receiving an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme.