The World Health Organization released a report on Thursday (September 2), projecting the number of dementia sufferers to rise 40% to 78 million by 2030.
With populations ageing, the neurological disorder that robs people of their memory, often caused by stroke, brain injury or Alzheimer's disease, costs the world $1.3 trillion a year.
Katrin Seeher is an expert in WHO's department of mental health:
"With currently over 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, dementia truly is a global public health concern...and not just in high-income countries. In fact, over 60% of people with dementia live in low- and middle-income countries."
Currently, only one in four countries has a national policy in place to support dementia patients and their families, according to the report.
Health ministers agreed in 2015 on a global action plan, including early diagnosis and providing care.
But countries are falling short on meeting targets by 2025.
The organization is urging governments to step up the public health challenge.
Tarun Dua, the head of WHO's department of mental health and substance use:
"So, I think the message to countries and the message to everybody is to take care of what you think about is good for your heart is also good for your brain and we should incorporate those healthy lifestyles, decrease those risk factors and thus, we can decrease the risk of having dementia."