Despite declining fatality rates for major diseases, the number of Alzheimer’s disease deaths show no signs of slowing down.
While deaths from heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke continue to experience significant declines, new data show that Alzheimer’s deaths continue to rise, according to research from the Alzheimer’s Association.
The number of deaths related to Alzheimer’s rose 68% from 2000-2010, and is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. There is also no cure yet for the disease.
The numbers are harrowing for seniors, as research found that one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
“Unfortunately, today there are no Alzheimer’s survivors. If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you either die from it or die with it,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association.
In 2013, an estimated 450,000 people in the U.S. will die from the disease, according to the Association’s 2013 Facts and Figures.
Alzheimer’s affliction even surpasses the people who suffer from the disease, often times placing a burden on those who care for these individuals. In 2012, there were more than 15 million caregivers who provided more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $216 billion, according to the research.
As a result of the physical and emotion toll of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.1 billion in added health care costs of their own in 2012.
The burden on the nation’s health care system is also enormous, write researchers. Total payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to total $203 billion in 2013, according to the 2013 Facts and Figures. Of this amount, Medicare and Medicaid will bear a combined cost of $142 billion.
With more than 5 million Americans already living with Alzheimer’s, the number of cases by 2050 are estimated to reach 13.8 million if there is not development of medical breakthrough, researchers suggest.
“Urgent, meaningful action is necessary, particularly as more and more people age into greater risk for developing a disease that today has no cure and no way to slow or stop its progression,” said Johns.
Written by Jason Oliva