London: Almost 47 million people are living with dementia around the world today, with 4.1 million of them in India, according to a new report which also found that nearly half of all people with dementia globally will live in Asia by 2050.
The World Alzheimer Report 2015 led by King's College London found that there are currently around 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers projected to nearly double every 20 years, increasing to 74.7 million by 2030 and 131.5 million by 2050.
Researchers also found that there are more than 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, implying one new case every 3.2 seconds.
The report showed that in 2015, East Asia is the world region with the most people living with dementia (9.8 million), followed by Western Europe (7.4 million).
These regions are closely followed by South Asia with 5.1 million and North America with 4.8 million.
At the country level, ten countries are home to over a million people with dementia in 2015: China (9.5 million), US (4.2 million), India (4.1 million), Japan (3.1 million), Brazil (1.6 million), Germany (1.6 million), Russia (1.3 million), Italy (1.2 million), Indonesia (1.2 million) and France (1.2 million).
The estimates are based on new research led by Professor Martin Prince from King's College London's Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care.
The new findings take into account both the growing numbers of older people (population ageing), and new and better evidence on the number of people living with dementia, and costs incurred.
"We now believe that we underestimated the current and future scale of the epidemic by 12-13 per cent in the 2009 World Alzheimer Report, with costs growing more rapidly than the numbers of people affected," said Prince.
According to the report, the current annual societal and economic cost of dementia is USD 818 billion, and it is expected to become a trillion dollar disease in just three years' time. The findings show that the cost of dementia has increased by 35 per cent since the 2010 World Alzheimer Report estimate of USD 604 billion.
The report said that 58 per cent of all people living with dementia today reside in low and middle income countries (LMICs), a proportion that is anticipated to rise to 68 per cent by 2050, driven mainly by population growth and an ageing global population.
It is also expected that by 2050, nearly half of all people with dementia globally will live in Asia.
"The rising global cost of dementia will pose serious challenges to health and social care systems all around the world," said Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI).
"These findings demonstrate the urgent need for governments to implement policies and legislation to provide a better quality of life for people living with dementia, both now and in the future," he said.
"We must use the findings of this report to advocate for action in international forums to fight back against the stigma of dementia and encourage the growth of dementia-friendly communities and countries," said Glenn Rees, Chair of ADI.
"This action should include timely diagnosis and post-diagnostic support and improved access to support and care, especially in low and middle income countries," Rees said.