Alzheimer’s is a serious disease that is affecting millions of Americans each year. The Alzheimer’s Association released the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures on March 8, 2012. In this report the association points out that “Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss – Alzheimer’s kills.” From 2000 to 2008 deaths from Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 66 percent while deaths from other major causes such as heart disease have decreased.
Alzheimer’s disease currently ranks as the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is 5th among seniors age 65 and older. It is currently the only disease among the top ten killing diseases in the United States without at cure, prevention method, or even a way to slow its progress.
There are currently about 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. Of these 5.4 million, 5.2 million of them are over the age of 65. It is predicted that by the year 2050 up to 16 million people could have the disease. 1 in 8 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s and nearly half of people over 85 have it.
Those with the disease are not the only ones that are affected by Alzheimer’s each year. In 2011 there were about 15.2 million family and friends that provided about 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care to those with the disease. Over 60 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers report the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high. About one third of these report symptoms of depression.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments for the symptoms that are available while the research continues. Currently, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.