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Alzheimer's Society
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Facts for the media

Facts on dementia

What is dementia?

Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. These conditions are all usually progressive and eventually severe.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting 62 per cent of those diagnosed.

Other types of dementia include; vascular dementia affecting 17 per cent of those diagnosed, mixed dementia affecting 10 per cent of those diagnosed.

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. Dementia is a terminal condition.

Who is affected?

There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. This will soar to 1.7 million by 2050.

One in three people over 65 will die with dementia.

80 per cent of people in care homes have with dementia or severe memory problems.

There are over 17,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.

Dementia affects nearly 25,000 people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK.

How much does it cost?

Dementia costs the UK over £23 billion a year, and this figure will rise to £27 billion per annum by 2018.

Unpaid carers supporting someone with dementia save the economy £8 billion a year.

Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. As a country we spend much less on dementia than on these other conditions.

How does the UK compare to other countries?

There are an estimated 35.6 million people living with dementia and the numbers affected will double every 20 years, rising to 115.4 million in 2050.

Another 7.7 million people will develop dementia around the world every year.

What about treatments and research?

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia. Delaying the onset of dementia by five years would halve the number of deaths from the condition, saving 30,000 lives a year.

Dementia research is desperately underfunded. The government invests eight times less in dementia research than cancer research.

In 2007-08 cancer research received £248.2 million, while dementia research received just £32.34 million.

Currently Alzheimer's Society has £6.5 million invested in dementia research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow. We aim to increase our annual investment in research to more than £10 million by 2017.

Where can you go for advice and information?

Call the Alzheimer's Society National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122

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