Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is now the 6th leading cause of death in the United States? Over the last 15 years, the number of Americans passing away from Alzheimer’s has jumped more than 50%, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Basics
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a broad term used for memory loss and other cognitive impairments serious enough to interfere with daily life, and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
While the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are older than 65, Alzheimer’s is NOT a normal part of aging. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 200,000 Americans under 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, and worsens over time. Symptoms include confusion, personality changes and memory loss, however, Alzheimer’s is not the only cause of memory loss. The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information, as changes usually begin in the part of the brain that affects learning.
While today Alzheimer’s has no current cure, it is at the forefront of biomedical research. Current treatments can slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve the quality of life, but they cannot not stop Alzheimer’s from progressing.
Alzheimer’s in America
More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and behind each of them is a network family and friends providing support and care. 15.9 million of these dedicated caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2016, valued at $230.1 billion. This number is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2050.
In the short time it took you to read this article, someone in the United States developed Alzheimer’s; every 66 seconds to be exact.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease. Visit their website for resources and support.