A new Alzheimer’s Association report says one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia in the United States. Alarmingly, the death toll has risen 68 percent from 2000 to 2010.
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While deaths from other diseases such as heart attack, HIV/AIDS and stroke continue to decline, Alzheimer’s deaths continue to rise. It is now the second largest contributor to death behind heart disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause in people aged 65 and older. No cure, prevention or way to slow its progression have been found.
Deaths either with, or from, Alzheimer’s
Right now, there are no Alzheimer’s survivors, says Alzheimer’s Association President and CEO Harry Johns. People who have Alzheimer’s disease either die from it, or die with it.
The association’s newly released 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures reveals that based on 2010 data, Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause of death of nearly 83,500 people. The report says that this year, an estimated 450,000 people in the United States will die with Alzheimer’s. The true number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s is likely to be between these two numbers.
Alzheimer’s growing, tragic toll
A recent study found that among 70-year-olds with the disease, 61 percent are expected to die within a decade. Only 30 percent of 70-year-olds without Alzheimer’s will die in that same period.
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65. By 2050, it’s estimated up to almost 14 million will have the disease. Today, 1 in 9 people aged 65 or older has Alzheimer’s.
Not only does Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia place a tremendous burden on individuals and their families, but it’s estimated that costs of care will increase by 500 percent, to $1.2 trillion, by 2050.