New Research Forecasts Dementia Cases in United States Will Double by 2050

By 2050, the number of U.S. adults over 40 living with dementia is projected to rise from 5.2 million people to 10.5 million, according to a new analysis. Published on January 6 in The Lancet, the study predicts that the number of people with dementia will go up in every country in the world, resulting in a near tripling in the global rate of dementia.

The anticipated increase is primary due to population growth and population aging, though the authors highlight the impact of 4 risk factors for dementia — smoking, obesity, high blood sugar, and low education, and how addressing those factors might improve the forecast.

The projected increase in the prevalence of dementia in the United States is likely to be accurate, says Maryjo Lynn Cleveland, MD, a geriatric physician who specializes in dementia at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and was not involved in this report.

“The four risk factors the article references are extremely important risk factors to intervene on to attempt to bend the curve. Other risk factors, such as hearing loss, mid-life hypertension, depression [or] social and isolation, and physical inactivity also likely play a role,” says Dr. Cleveland.

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