For those of us who lobby for resources, it is no overstatement to say that Alzheimer's disease has reached crisis proportions in the United States.
As we are getting older, the incidence, prevalence and mortality of Alzheimer’s disease are all rising.
The 2007 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report by the Alzheimer's Association makes sobering reading. Here are some of the headline facts:
- Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia
- At the present rate, one in 85 people will have the disease in 40 years
- There are now more than 5 million people suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and the report projects an increase of 16 million cases by 2050 unless preventive measures are taken and/or science is able to come up with a prevention or cure
- One person is now diagnosed with dementia every seven seconds
- One in every four American families is affected by dementia
- The incidence of dementia is one in 1,000 before age 65 and one in 20 after age 65.
- More than $100 billion is spent per year on dementia, which is about 10 percent of all healthcare expenditures
As we have discussed before, the symptoms of dementia may be delayed for 3 to 5 years through healthy lifestyles and behavior modification, and there are many new treatment approaches in the pipeline.
The huge issue is that statistic about one in four families being affected by the disease. And it is a disease: it is not part of normal aging.
Caregivers can suffer terribly.
The Alzheimer’s Association also has some information for those who care for people with Alzheimer’s.
There is also some food information here concerning caregiver stress.
I would also like to direct you to some of the things that I have written here about the wellness of caregivers.
And for everyone, don’t wait until you are thirsty before you dig that well. Work on building you personal resilience and follow the simple lifestyle guidelines that may significantly reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.