A new study estimates that one in two women and one in three men will develop dementia, stroke or parkinsonism during their life.
While lifetime risks of other serious illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease are well known and used to raise public awareness, the researchers say this is not the case for dementia, stroke or parkinsonism.
To estimate the lifetime risk of these conditions, they examined data on more than 12,000 people who took part in the population-based Rotterdam Study between 1990 and 2016.
They found the lifetime risk for any of these diseases at age 45 was 48.2 per cent (95% CI 47.1%-51.5%) in women and 36.2 per cent (95% CI 35.1%-39.3%) in men. The risk of combined disease was higher in women than in men. Preventive strategies that delay disease onset by one to three years could theoretically reduce lifetime risk for developing any of these diseases by 20 to 50 per cent, they said.
The authors say the new estimates may improve awareness of the burden of the conditions in the population.
The study is published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.