TUESDAY, March 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Alzheimer’s disease claims nearly twice as many American lives annually as it did just 15 years ago, according to the 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, published March 7 by the Alzheimer’s Association.
The report also found that 5.3 million American seniors aged 65 and older now live with the disease. That represents approximately 10 percent of all the nation’s seniors, and that number is projected to rise to 13.8 million by 2050. Nearly half a million seniors are expected to develop the disease in 2017 alone. Another 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 are also currently diagnosed with the disease.
Among the report’s additional findings: Alzheimer’s is now the fifth leading cause of death among seniors; the sixth leading cause of fatalities among all Americans; and the only disease among the nation’s top 10 causes of mortality for which there is no prevention, no way to slow progression, and no cure. It costs $259 billion a year for Alzheimer’s care. That amount is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2050.
Another highlighted concern: In 2016, more than 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at $230.1 billion. And those caregivers experience their own health consequences: More than a third (35 percent) report their health has worsened since assuming caregiver duties, compared with 19 percent of caregivers for older people without dementia. Depression and anxiety also affect dementia caregivers more often.
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