From the government who does not have a game plan to address the obesity epidemic, expect no game plan to address the dementia epidemic. Physical activity is a key preventive measure for both, but again, do not expect our government in Australia to do ANYTHING to increase levels of physical activity.
Australia facing dementia epidemicBy Xavier La Canna
AUSTRALIA faces a dementia epidemic before 2050, according to a new report.
The Access Economics report, Dementia in the Asia Pacific Region: The Epidemic is Here, found the number of people living with dementia in Australia will more than double, to a projected 2.4 per cent, by the middle of the century.
And the report, commissioned by Alzheimer's Australia, also predicts that by then the number of people in the Asia Pacific region with the condition will multiply to about 64.6 million, from today's 13.7 million.
New cases each year are expected to soar from about 4.3 million to nearly 19.7 million by 2050.
"Australia, like all the countries in the region, is at the beginning of a dementia epidemic," Access Economics researcher Lynne Pezzullo told AAP today.
"The prevalence of dementia will increase rapidly in Australia, and in all the countries of the region," Mr Pezzullo said.
"And the cost of dementia will increase, and we need therefore to look at strategies to effectively redress the epidemic."
The report said an epidemic was "a certainty" because of an ageing population which will see the number of people aged more than 60 rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent by 2050.
Alzheimer's Australia executive director Glenn Rees said estimates had shown that by 2011 the direct costs of the condition would double for healthcare providers.
Mr Rees said there were four key ways to reduce the chances of contracting Alzheimer's Disease.
He said physical and mental activities, keeping socially active and having a healthy cardiovascular system, were all important.
The national president of Alzheimer's Australia, Professor Marc Budge, said the earlier people started thinking about avoiding dementia the better.
"We are hoping we can apply that same prospect to people ? not in their 60s and 80s ... but to people in their 40s and their 30s and their 20s and their teens," Professor Budge said.
Today is World Alzheimer's Day, and the Access Economics Report was released at a conference in Melbourne focusing on the condition.