The Changing Face of Alzheimer’s Disease

July 1, 2010

African-Americans and Hispanics are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to whites, yet they are less likely to get a diagnosis of the memory-robbing illness than their Caucasian counterparts. Those are among the latest findings from an annual update from the Alzheimer’s Association.

African-Americans were twice as likely as whites of the same age to have Alzheimer’s. Hispanics were 1.5 times as likely as whites to have the disease. The increased risk may be related to diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, which are more common in these ethnic groups and related to increased Alzheimer’s risk.

The findings provide further details about the impact of Alzheimer’s in the United States. The disease affects an estimated 5.3 million Americans and is the 7th leading cause of death.

The disease is also extremely costly. Some 172 billion dollars in health care costs is now spent on Alzheimer’s each year. That does not include the unpaid hours contributed by nearly 11 million caregivers who take care of a loved one with the ailment.

As fewer Americans die from ailments like heart disease and cancer, more are living longer. As a result, more and more Americans will develop the symptoms of BN1 Alzheimer’s in the coming decades unless  effective treatments are discovered.

Other findings from the report include:

*One in eight people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease.

*Every 70 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds.

*More women than men have Alzheimer’s. This may be due in part to the fact that women tend to live longer than men, and advancing age remains the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

*By 2050, 11 million to 16 million Americans are expected to have Alzheimer’s, unless an effective treatment is discovered.

*Some 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s live at home, cared for by a family member or friend.

The report is available on the Alzheimer’s Association Web site at www.alz.org.

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Foundation continues to fund vital research into the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Only through continued research will more effective treatments, and even a cure, be found. To learn more, visit www.alzinfo.org.

By ALZinfo.org. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University

Source: 2010 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures, the Alzheimer’s Association.


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