Washington, Sept 25 : The number of people suffering from dementia is likely to increase more than three times Down Under in the next 40 years unless more is done to combat the disease, warns an expert.
According to Dr Alistair Burns, professor of old age psychiatry at the University of Manchester, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is likely to go up to 750,000 a year by 2050.
He said that the estimate was 327 per cent higher than today's figure.
"In 2002, it cost 6.6 billion dollars (in health care), which I guess would be a lot bigger now," News.com.au quoted him, as saying.
"A million people are involved in caring for a family member (with dementia) and there are 1000 new diagnoses a week," he added.
Michele Adair, general manager of services at Alzheimer's Australia said that the increase in the number of dementia sufferers will hit Australia like a "tsunami".
"Try to imagine what society is going to be like in that 20 years time that we all talk about ... when there are going to be three times the people thinking about dementia," she said.
"There's not going to be a banker, a shop assistant, a nurse, a truck driver or any other member of society who has not been directly affected by dementia.
"It's an epidemic and it's coming at us like a tsunami."