As health organisations and charities up and down the UK mark World Alzheimer’s Day today, a new report from Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Office of Health Economics has released new projections on how many of us will develop the condition in the future.
It is estimated that one in three born this year will develop Alzheimer’s at some point in their lives.
The projections are being described by professionals as a “looming national health crisis” as more of us continue to live longer.
Dr Matthew Norton, from Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling for more action to be taken now through an increase in funding so new treatments and preventions can be found:
“These figures underline a stark reality – as people are living longer, more and more people will develop dementia in the future if action is not taken now to tackle the condition.
“It’s wonderful news that each generation is living longer than the last, but it’s important to ensure that people can enjoy these extra years in good health.”
Who is at risk of developing alzheimer’s?
The study estimates that 32% of people born in the UK in 2015 will get dementia in their lifetime. Women are predicted to be at greater risk of developing the condition, at 37% compared to 27% of men.
Research already carried out in the field suggests that those who suffer from heart disease, diabetes or who smoke or do little exercise are more at risk.
How reliable are these figures?
These figures are based on future life expectancies and do not take into account recent research that found that cases of alzheimer’s are actually stabilizing in some western countries, including the UK.
Though these figures have been acknowledged as estimates, the research conducted so far within the field, coupled with increasing life expectancy serves as a powerful awareness tool this World Alzheimer’s Day. Not only is more funding needed into finding a cure for this debilitating illness, but it also requires us to take more care of our own health and wellbeing to do what we can to keep alzheimer’s at bay.
Indeed, a recent report in the Lancet medical journal which provides details on the findings of the same two dementia studies, but carried out within different decades suggests that the way countries educate their people on health matters linked to alzheimer’s could have a significant role to play in the prevention of the disease:
“It is possible that there may be a preventable component within individuals, and across whole populations”.
Lead Researcher Carol Bayne – University of Cambridge
To find out what you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s you can visit the Alzheimer’s prevention page of NHS Choices.