A report released today by Alzheimer's Disease International says that the worldwide costs of dementia have soared to $604 billion.
The cost includes direct costs of medical care, direct costs of social care and unpaid informal care. The World Alzheimer's Report 2010 also estimated that the cost totaled 1 percent of the world's gross domestic product.
It added that the cost would be the world's 18th largest economy should it be taken as a country. "This report clearly illustrates that dementia is already affecting health systems around the world, and for the families who are forced to face Alzheimer's the anguish is universal. The World Alzheimer Report 2010 urges all countries -- including the U.S. -- to develop national plans to deal with the disease," Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, said in a statement.