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Death Rate of Alzheimer’s Disease up 83% in 15 Years

Death Rate of Alzheimer’s Disease up 83% in 15 Years
June 02
11:09 2017

Death Rate of Alzheimer’s Disease up 83% in 15 Years

This year, nearly 500,000 people in America will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately, every 66 seconds, someone the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease, but it affects over 15 million other Americans who don’t have the disease. Alzheimer’s costs our nation about $250 billion a year.

Alzheimer’s disease kills more Americans than breast cancer and prostate cancer COMBINED! It is estimated that 1 in 3 senior citizens dies with some form of Alzheimer’s disease. While the death rate of heart disease has decreased since 2000, the death rate from Alzheimer’s has increased by 89% since 2000 and by 83% from 1999 to 2014.

In earlier posts, we have grouped Alzheimer’s disease with dementia, when in reality, there is a difference. Dementia is a generalized term to refer to symptoms that impair the memory and communication abilities of a person. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, but more specifically, it’s a disease of the brain that not only impairs memory and communication abilities but it also impairs other cognitive functions.

Alzheimer’s is believed to be caused by a buildup of plaques and tangles in the brain which results in the loss of connections between cells which then leads to the cells dying. In more severe cases of Alzheimer’s disease, some signs of brain shrinkage can be detected, but in most cases, the only way to totally confirm Alzheimer’s is to examine the person’s brain tissue under a microscope after they die.

Both dementia and Alzheimer’s share several of the same symptoms:

  • Ability to think decreases
  • Loss of memory
  • Impairment of ability to communicate

Symptoms that are more specific to Alzheimer’s includes:

  • Loss of recent memory of events and conversations
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Judgment is impaired
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Change in behavior
  • Trouble swallowing, speaking and walking in advanced stages

A curios fact mentioned at the beginning is that Alzheimer’s disease impacts over 15 million Americans who do not have the disease. That’s because more families are choosing to deal with their loved one with Alzheimer’s at home. In 1999, only 14% of Alzheimer’s patients died at home. By 2014, the number of Alzheimer’s patients who died at home rose to 25%.

One reason for that is that more Baby Boomers are aging and developing Alzheimer’s. Another reason is the high cost of care at most types of facilities that house and treat Alzheimer’s patients.

With the increase in the number of elderly people, the number of people with Alzheimer’s is also increasing, meaning the death rate is steadily increasing. That is also due to the fact that at the moment, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. This is posing a dire problem for the medical community and researchers.

Keith Fargo, Director of Scientific Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association commented about the growing older population in cases of Alzheimer’s:

“This is an enormous problem that is only growing, it’s only going to get worse — we are staring at a tsunami of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Speaking about a report that the death rate of Alzheimer’s disease rose 55%, Fargo commented:

“When you do the math on the unadjusted numbers, the death rate actually increased 83 percent from 1999 to 2014.”

There are cures for many forms of heart disease and some forms of cancer, but with no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is quickly becoming one of the top mortality factors for older Americans. It also has more of an impact on entire families as their older members with Alzheimer’s are being taken care of at home. That home care is often a 24/7 job that can be physically and emotionally taxing on everyone in the house. That’s why Alzheimer’s impacts over 20 million people in America – patients and family.

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