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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Burden of disease due to dementia in the elderly population of Korea: present and future

Jae-Hyun Park12, Jin-Hee Eum1, Bolor Bold1 and Hae-Kwan Cheong12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 2066 Seobu-ro, Jangan-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, 440-746, Republic of Korea

2 Center for Molecular Medicine, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:293  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-293

Published: 3 April 2013



With the rapid aging of populations around the world, dementia has become one of the most important public health problems in Eastern Asian countries. The purpose of the present study was to provide an estimate of the burden of dementia and forecast its future burden, as generalized to the Korean population, and to provide detailed gender- and age-specific information regarding the burden of dementia in the elderly population of Korea.


‘Disability-adjusted life years’ (DALYs) were used to estimate the burden of dementia. Epidemiologic data from national statistics and nationwide epidemiologic studies in the year 2008 were used to obtain representative outcomes for the Korean population. We estimated the DALYs due to dementia from the years 2010 to 2050 by applying demographic structure projections in terms of 5-year age groups in Korea.


The burden of disease due to dementia in Korea is 528 per 100,000 population (males: 435, females: 622) and 5,117 per 100,000 in those over the age of 65 years (males: 5,228; females: 5,041); this accounts for 4.5% of the total burden of disease in the year 2008. In the year 2050, DALYs due to dementia (814,629) are expected to be 3.0 times higher than those in the year 2010 (274,849).


Dementia has the highest burden of disease in the elderly Korean population, and this burden will increase sharply with the aging of the population. More comprehensive and multi-dimensional approaches, including clinical, psychological, social, and political means will be needed for the management of the dramatically increasing burden of dementia.

Dementia; Burden of disease; DALY; Alzheimer's disease