5 Million Americans Living With Alzheimer's

Posted on March 20, 2007

ABC News reports that a new report from the Alzheimer's Association says 5 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer's. That number is expected to climb to 7.7 million by 2030 and 16 million by 2050.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, a 10 percent increase since the last Alzheimer's Association estimate five years ago and a count that supports the long-forecast dementia epidemic as the population grays.

Age is the biggest risk factor, and the report to be released Tuesday shows the nation is on track for skyrocketing Alzheimer's once the baby boomers start turning 65 in 2011. Already, one in eight people 65 and older have the mind-destroying illness, and nearly one in two people over 85.

Unless scientists discover a way to delay Alzheimer's brain attack, some 7.7 million people are expected to have the disease by 2030, the report says. By 2050, that toll could reach 16 million.

Why? Ironically, in fighting heart disease, cancer and other diseases, "we're keeping people alive so they can live long enough to get Alzheimer's disease," explains association vice president Steve McConnell.

Medicare costs for dementia patients are three times that of non-dementia patients according to the report. The article also says there are a few drugs in late-stage clinical trials that may help to delay the onset of alzheimer's symptoms.

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