South Korea’s social cost from patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be more than 43 trillion won ($41.98 billion) by 2050, a report said Thursday, urging the state health care agency to include related checkups in health exams for early detection.
According to the report from the National Assembly Budget Office, the prevalence rate of the disease among people 65 and older is expected to rise from 9.58 percent this year to 10.39 percent by 2020, then to 15.06 percent by 2050.
It said the number of people 65 and older who have Alzheimer’s disease will increase from 1.1 percent of the country’s total population in 2012 to 5.6 percent by 2050.
The report was based on related data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Such a sharp rise in the number of people with the most common form of dementia will inevitably increase the overall costs for the country, the report said.
The costs from the disease are expected to reach 15.2 trillion won by 2020 and 43.2 trillion won by 2050, accounting for 1.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the report.
“Previous studies suggest that early diagnosis and treatment of the disease can reduce the costs by up to 2.8 trillion won per year,” the report said, stressing a need to start checking for the disease in regular health checkups.
The report said the country should also increase the number of specialized health institutes that can diagnose and treat dementia at an early stage. (Yonhap)