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Dementia cases predicted to triple by 2050

Research published in The Lancet Public Health earlier in January, which looked at the prevalence of Dementia worldwide, has shown that the rates of dementia are set to increase. It is predicted that cases will have tripled by 2050.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for conditions which affect the brain. The nerve cells in the brain become damaged which means that messages to and from the brain are not sent as well as before which affects the functioning of the body.

Examples of the most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.

Each person with dementia will experience it in a different way. Common symptoms are:

Memory problems

  • Increasing forgetfulness

  • Difficulty retaining new information

  • Getting lost in places that used to be familiar

  • Struggling with names

  • Misplacing things frequently

Cognitive ability

  • Difficulty understanding time and place, eg getting up in the middle of the night to go to work, even if they’re retired

  • Difficulty with choosing what to buy and paying when shopping

  • Struggling with decision-making and reasoning

  • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy

  • Restlessness, eg pacing, fidgeting and trying to leave the house


  • Struggling to find the right words

  • Repeating themselves often

  • Difficulty making and following conversation

  • Difficulty reading and writing

  • Becoming quieter and more withdrawn

  • Loss of interest in socialising

  • Loss of confidence

  • Changes in personality and behaviour

  • Mood swings, anxiety and depression

Who does it affect?

About 900,000 people are living with Dementia in the UK. It is more commonly seen in older adults although 42,000 are living with early onset dementia, which is diagnosis before the age of 65.

Can I reduce my risk of dementia?

There are some risk factors which cannot be changed. These include:

  • Age: This is the biggest risk factor. You are at a higher risk over the age of 65

  • Ethnicity: certain ethnicities seem to be at higher risk

  • Gender: more women are affected than men

  • Genetics: it is rare but in some cases there is a genetic link

However 1 in 3 cases are preventable. Making changes to your lifestyle can lower your risk.

Risk factors

The following lifestyle related risk factors increase your risk of developing dementia

  • Type II diabetes

  • High alcohol intake

  • High blood pressure

  • Lack of exercise

  • Low educational attainment

  • Obesity

  • Poor physical health

  • Smoking

Dementia UK suggests what changes you could make to reduce your risk. These include:

  • Making sure any long term conditions, such as Type II diabetes, are well managed

  • Having regular health checks to keep an eye on your blood pressure, weight and blood cholesterol

  • Get support to manage your weight and eat healthily

  • Be more physically active

  • Reduce your alcohol intake to no more than 14 units a week

  • Get support to give up smoking

  • Keep socially active

  • Take part in hobbies such as art, knitting, learning a new language and listening to music to stimulate your brain and help your attention and concentration levels.


Leading a healthy lifestyle is beneficial to your health, reducing your risk of living with ill health. What could you do to reduce your risk?