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2013: The prevalence of dementia in Europe

Country comparisons

The importance of knowing the prevalence of dementia in Europe

At a regional, national and international level, strategic planning of health and social policy is dependent on accurate estimation of the size of the challenge, and with this comes an ability to estimate the future cost of the care, support and treatment needed. At an individual level the ability of patient associations to be able to offer evidence-based knowledge to patients and caregivers is a minimal expectation. Knowledge about the numbers of people affected by dementia is therefore essential.

The following tables provide details of the prevalence of dementia within the EU-28 countries, as well as in Jersey, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. We have separated both sets of countries so as to have a figure for the European Union, and one for additional countries in which Alzheimer Europe has a member association.

What we mean by prevalence

When we use the term “prevalence”, we are referring to the estimated proportion of individuals in a given population that have a particular condition, in this case dementia,  at a specific time. This includes people who have recently developed dementia, as well as those who have already had the condition for some time (i.e. incident and prevalent cases). A prevalence rate is the total number of cases of a disease in a known population divided by the total population (New York State Department of Health, 1999). This differs from an incidence rate which measures the number of new cases of a condition divided by the number of people at risk for the condition, starting from a group of people who do not yet have it. In other words, incidence rates represent the rate at which new cases develop in the population, whereas prevalence rates provide a snapshot of the health status of a particular population at a given time (Prince, 2008). The figures we present here concern the latter. 

How we calculated the prevalence figures for this report

For our calculations, we used projected population statistics from the United Nations for 2012 and two sets of prevalence rates. The resulting figures which you can see in the tables are the result of multiplying the population in given age groups (i.e. 30 to 59, followed by 5-year age groups, ending with 95+) with one of two sets of prevalence rates:

  1. Prevalence rates from the EURODEM study were used to calculate the prevalence of dementia in the 30 to 59 age group. EURODEM (1991) was an EU-funded study, based in the Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam. This was a collaborative study involving the analysis of 12 population-based epidemiological studies from 8 countries in relation to the prevalence of dementia. The results were published in an article by Hofman et al. (1991) and the work was updated in 2000. The studies are highly relevant today even though they were based on cohorts commenced in the 1980s, and do not include data from Eastern Europe (Alzheimer Europe, 2013).
  2. Prevalence rates from the EuroCoDe study were used to calculate the prevalence of dementia in the 60 to 95+ age groups. EuroCoDe (2008) was also an EU-funded project, co-ordinated by Alzheimer Europe, involving 6 work packages. Emma Reynish was the leader of the work package, whose aim was to develop prevalence rates for dementia. A total of 194 articles were identified from the literature search. 31 studies were identified as possible for inclusion in collaborative analysis and the researchers of those studies were invited to submit data. Raw data was obtained from 17 studies and used in the collaborative analysis of dementia prevalence rates in Europe. Reynish and her colleagues also analysed epidemiological data for prevalence rates for early onset dementia but found that this was sparse and involved studies with low numbers and wide variation in rates, perhaps due to differing study designs. They did not therefore develop new prevalence rates for younger people with dementia and this is why we are using a combination of two different sets of rates.

For full details of the prevalence rates used, please see Alzheimer Europe (2013) and Hofman et al. (1991).  It is important to bear in mind that the prevalence rates used are based on studies involving diagnosed cases of dementia. As many people with dementia do not received a diagnosis, the actual number of cases is likely to be much higher than the figures suggest.

Table 1. The Prevalence of Dementia in Europe (EU-28)

         

Country

Men

Women

Total

% of population

Austria

45,938

99,494

145,432

1.73

Belgium

62,972

128,309

191,281

1.77

Bulgaria

37,851

72,042

109,893

1.49

Croatia

20,394

46,682

67,076

1.53

Cyprus

4,333

6,917

11,250

1.07

Czech Republic

45,532

97,778

143,310

1.36

Denmark

29,715

55,847

85,562

1.53

Estonia

5,469

16,252

21,721

1.62

Finland

29,287

62,945

92,232

1.71

France

375,843

799,113

1,174,956

1.85

Germany

517,136

1,054,968

1,572,104

1.92

Greece

75,392

126,375

201,767

1.77

Hungary

43,636

105,291

148,927

1.50

Ireland

17,895

31,574

49,469

1.08

Italy

414,975

857,341

1,272,316

2.09

Latvia

8,902

26,812

35,714

1.60

Lithuania

12,567

34,768

47,335

1.44

Luxembourg

2,327

4,662

6,989

1.34

Malta

1,878

3,423

5,301

1.26

Netherlands

83,247

162,314

245,561

1.47

Poland

150,371

350,721

501,092

1.31

Portugal

62,260

120,266

182,526

1.71

Romania

90,484

179,820

270,304

1.26

Slovakia

17,834

40,774

58,608

1.07

Slovenia

9,324

22,711

32,035

1.57

Spain

280,149

538,197

818,346

1.75

Sweden

60,479

112,656

173,135

1.82

United Kingdom

360,581

677,210

1,037,791

1.65

Total

2,866,771

5,835,262

8,702,033

average 1.55

Table 2.The Prevalence of Dementia in Europe

Jersey, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

Country

Men

Women

Total

% of population

 

 

 

 

 

Jersey

483

918

1,401

1.43

Iceland

1,487

2,435

3,922

1.19

Norway

25,932

51,226

77,158

1.56

Switzerland

44,201

89,521

133,722

1.73

Turkey

134,927

196,586

331,513

0.44

 

207,030

340,686

547,716

average 1.29

           

 

                                                Table 3. The Grand Total

 

Countries

Men

Women

Total

EU-28 plus Jersey, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey

3,073,701

6,175,948

9,249,649

 

 
 

Last Updated: Friday 08 July 2016

 

 
  • Acknowledgements

    The above information was published in the 2013 Dementia in Europe Yearbook as part of Alzheimer Europe's 2013 Work Plan which received funding from the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme.
  • European Union
 
 

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