Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Dementia Cases Expected to Rise Nearly 200 Percent in India by 2050, Says A Lancet Report

India’s burden of dementia will be much higher than what the Global Burden of Disease data shows because the problem is largely underreported in the country.
January 10, 2022

A study published in The Lancet Public Health says that by 2050, 11.44 million people in India are expected to be living with dementia, which is up from 3.84 million in 2019. According to the Global Burden of Disease study published in the Lancet Public Health, the 197% jump in dementia will primarily be due to population growth and population ageing, and factors like smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and lack of education of the subject, the report states.

The cases of forgetting things or decreasing memory in scientific language is called dementia. The syndrome impairs the memory, thinking, reasoning and judgment of a person. According to the World Health Organization, there are 10 million new cases of dementia every year.

The latest analysis estimates the prevalence of dementia in 195 countries and territories and examines the impact of expected trends in exposure to four important risk factors—smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education.

The researchers noted, “We estimated that there were more women with dementia than men globally in 2019, and we predict this pattern to continue through 2050.” Between 1990 and 2016, the number of people affected by dementia was expected to increase by 117% globally, mostly due to the ageing of the population.

Demographic assessments imply that these patterns are driven by low fertility with high life expectancy, resulting in major changes in the age structure of the population. These developments, along with relatively unchanged age-specific prevalence estimates and population expansion, have resulted in a significant increase in the number of dementia victims.

India’s anticipated dementia burden was less than other south Asian countries such as Bangladesh (254%), Bhutan (351%), Nepal (210%) and Pakistan (261%). The highest jump in cases is expected in countries such as Qatar (1926%), United Arab Emirates (1795%) and Bahrain (1084%), while the lowest increase in the burden is expected in Japan (27%), Bulgaria (37%) and Serbia (38%).

India recorded 3,843,118 cases of dementia in 2019, the number in expected to touch 11,422,692 in 2050.

Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death worldwide and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people—with global costs in 2019 estimated at more than $1 trillion. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing.