By 2029, the World Health Organisation estimates that the total number of people with dementia is expected to reach 82 million, 152 million, even by 2050. This rise is largely due to the growth in the number of cases in low- and middle-income countries.
Dementia is characterised as a syndrome where cognitive function, which is the ability to perform through operations, is impaired, in general. This can affect all aspects of daily life, such as memory, reasoning, orientation as well as language. This is sometimes accompanied by disorders of emotional control or social behaviour.
Along with this, this is not just an inevitable consequence of ageing, even though age is the biggest known risk factor. The disease does not only affect the elderly. More and more people develop so-called “early” dementia, that is, the first symptoms before the age of 65. Figures show that 9 percent of all cases are now in this range.
In about every four seconds, a person in the world is diagnosed with dementia. In Belgium, the maximum number of individuals with dementia has exceeded 200,000 cases since 2020.
In addition, the disease impacts many more people beyond the patients, such as family and loved ones who are called upon to care for the sick, who live in 70 percent of cases at home.
Females older in age have a 50 percent greater risk as compared to men of developing dementia, as well as, in particular, Alzheimer’s disease. Certain increased risk factors explain this inequality in women after menopause, such as cardiovascular disease (including stroke).
Furthermore, the recognition of the symptoms of cardiovascular events as well as their management is also less good in women.