CDC: Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia Cases To Double By 2060

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Rates of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in the US will double by 2060.

Worldwide, about seven per cent of people over 65 suffer from the disease or some form of dementia, a percentage that rises to 40 per cent above the age of 85. That number is forecasted to escalate to increase to 13.9 million, nearly 3.3 percent of the population, in 2060. The new report finds that white Americans will continue to comprise the majority of Alzheimer's cases, simply due to their sheer numbers.

Alzheimer's is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and, eventually a person's ability to perform even the simplest tasks, per the CDC.

The agency report noted that 5 million Americans - 1.6 percent of the population - had Alzheimer's disease in 2014. It's the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

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As of 2014, black Americans were the most likely racial group to have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related dementia. Divided by ethnicity, among Hispanics, 12.2% were diagnosed with these conditions, along with 9.1% of American Indian and Alaska natives and10.3% of whites. By 2060, almost 417 million, or 3.3%, are expected to be diagnosed, according to the study, which was published in Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association and coincides with World Alzheimer's Day, a global Alzheimer's awareness day that falls on September 21, 2018. Since age is the greatest risk factor for dementia, it makes sense that rates of the disease will soar when the aging population has been growing.

That's because there's still no cure for the brain disease that affects millions of people worldwide, but researchers hope we're getting closer.

After trials on mice focused on diseased neurons in the brain appeared to produce a breakthrough in the early 2000s, many corporations "thought they'd hit the jackpot", says Sarazin. This disease is not only hard for the individual, but it is also extremely hard for family and friends to watch a loved one slowly decline.

"It is important for people who think their daily lives are impacted by memory loss to discuss these concerns with a health care provider. An early assessment and diagnosis is key to planning for their health care needs, including long-term services and supports, as the disease progresses", said lead author Kevin Matthews, health geographer with the CDC's Division of Population Health.