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Alarming rise in dementia patients, says expert

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Dementia or the loss of memory will become the principal health hazard in the next century, keeping in view the rising incidences of the disease, a leading neurologist said on Monday.

Talking to Anadolu Agency, Gökhan Erkol from Koç University Hospital estimated that after every three seconds, someone in the world is getting affected by dementia.

Currently 50 million people in the world suffer from the disease.

"Almost one out of every two people, between the ages of 85-90 suffers from dementia," Erkol said.

As number of incidences of the disease is doubling after every five years, researchers estimate that by 2050, it will affect a whooping population of 150 million.

Erkol described Alzheimer's as the most common cause of dementia. He said the disease accounts for 60% of dementia causes.

The neurologist emphasized that dementia does not recognize either social, economic class or geographical boundaries.

"It can affect all societies irrespective of socioeconomic levels," he said.

But, he added that since the middle and lower-income groups comprise large part of population, the recurrence of disease among them is 70%.

"Studies have also shown that two out of three people have no idea about dementia," he said.

Further, the symptoms of the disease also deceive doctors to diagnose it at an early stage. "They treat it as a normal outcome of an old age," said Erkol.

The patients, themselves also hesitate to report to doctors, as dementia is also associated with social stigma.

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