(PhysOrg.com) -- The impact of dementia on society and the UK?s economy has been significantly underestimated, a University of Oxford report has found.
820,000 people are affected by dementia, costing the UK economy £23 billion per year. Previous estimates put the number of people living with dementia at 700,000.
The Dementia 2010 report, commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, also shows that dementia research remains severely underfunded compared to other conditions like cancer and heart disease.
Professor Alastair Gray of the University of Oxford Health Economics Research Centre, and one of Dementia 2010’s authors, said: ‘The economic burden of dementia is far greater than that for cancer, heart disease and other major medical challenges. Despite high costs for unpaid and government-funded carers, dementia research is grossly underfunded in comparison with other disease areas.’
Dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion per year. That is twice the cost of cancer (£12 billion per year), three times the cost of heart disease (£8 billion per year) and four times the cost of stroke (£5 billion).
Yet the Dementia 2010 report shows that combined government and charitable investment in dementia research is 12 times lower than spending on cancer research. £590 million is spent on cancer research each year, while just £50 million is invested in dementia research. Heart disease receives £169 million per year and stroke research £23 million.
The report also highlights the high costs of caring for people with dementia. It estimates that each person living with dementia costs the economy £27,647 per year. By contrast, patients with cancer cost £5,999, stroke £4,770 and heart disease £3,455 per year.
Explore further: New research identifies risks, interventions for children's GI health