A new study has found that the number of adults living with dementia globally could triple by 2050.

As things stand, an estimated 57 million people worldwide live with dementia, with forecasts showing this number could rise to 153 million by 2050.

The researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in America suggested that population growth and an ageing population are behind this increase.

According to the researchers, four risk factors associated with dementia will drive these future trends – smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education.

On the positive side, improvements in global education access levels will help reduce levels by 6.2 million cases.

However, rising levels of obesity, high blood sugar and smoking are projected to lead to an additional 6.8 million cases of dementia.

Read about dementia and Lasting Power of Attorneys

Cases are forecast to rise in every country, although western Europe and the Asia Pacific region are predicted to experience the smallest increases due to their relatively high incomes.

The largest growth in dementia cases is expected to occur in North Africa, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.

There is forecast to be a 75% increase in dementia cases in the UK, from 907,000 to almost 1.6 million.

In response to the findings, the Global Burden of Disease study authors called for more aggressive prevention efforts to reduce dementia risk through lifestyle factors.

Lead author Emma Nichols said:

“Our study offers improved forecasts on a global scale as well as the country level, giving policymakers and public health experts new insights to understand the drivers of these increases, based on the best available data.

“At the same time, we need to focus more on prevention and control of risk factors. To have the greatest impact, we need to reduce exposure to the leading risk factors in each country.”

Turning to the more significant impact of dementia on women, co-author Dr Jaimie Steinmetz said:

“It’s been suggested that Alzheimer’s disease may spread differently in the brains of women than in men, and several genetic risk factors seem related to the disease risk by sex.”

Read what the Alzheimer’s Society say about dementia