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Esther Heerema, MSW

Alzheimer's Association Fact: Alzheimer's Strikes Every 68 Seconds

By March 10, 2012

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The Alzheimer's Association just released a new Fact Sheet this week. Here's a synopsis of some of the sobering statistics they provide:

  • Every 68 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's. That number is projected to grow to one every 33 seconds by 2050, resulting in 16 million Americans with dementia.
  • Currently, an estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's. 5.2 million are over the age of 65, while approximately 200,000 are younger than 65.
  • The cost of caring for persons with Alzheimer's in the U.S. in 2012 is $200 billion. Those costs are largely due to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for care and services provided. The estimated cost in 2050 is $1.1 trillion in today's dollars.
  • 1 in 8 adults over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's. Over the age of 85, almost half of Americans have Alzheimer's.
  • 1 person out of 7 with Alzheimer's lives alone, and up to half of those don't have an identifiable caregiver.
  • Of the top 10 causes of death, Alzheimer's is ranked at number six. While all other top ten causes have declined from 2000 to 2008, the number of deaths due to Alzheimer's has increased by 66%. All other top 10 causes also have had some success in effectively preventing or curing the disease, while Alzheimer's has none. There are a few medications that attempt to slow the progression of Alzheimer's, but their success is limited.
  • Approximately 60% of caregivers for Alzheimer's or other dementias report that they're highly or very highly emotionally stressed, and a third of caregivers report feelings of depression.

View the dementia statistics for each state to see how your area is faring.

We all need to increase awareness of the widespread devastation and cost that this disease brings with it. Spread the word, please.

March 15, 2012 at 9:09 am
(1) Bert says:

While memory loss was increasing over the previous 4-5 years, I also began to notice cognitive difficulty that had never been present prior to the use of the drug Topomax used for the treatment of bi-polar disorder. I in fact had mood swings since childhood and suffered pretty severe up to suicidal attempted events of depression. I was treated for more than 15 years with various depression medications, each seeming to cause thier own other array of side effects or problems that did not enhance my life. When discussing this with my psychiatrist who was treating me for both bi polar and fibromyalgia he scoffed it off as being just depression side effects. A brain scan done a couple of years ago though showed the shrinkage of my hippocampus and indicated the use of the drug Aricept. I am 59. I had a half sister die from AD at 62. I have no information on her health history prior to her death as I did not ever know her. So it is a toss up but I now do not take an antidepressent. I suffer with mild depression but try medication, exercise, and getting rid of excess stressors in my life to help in all areas. I would not consider the use of anti depressents which are being handed out to everybody these days, I would first try exercise, counseling, stress/relaxation technique before beginning medications. Wish i had known this years ago. Hope it helps someone else!

March 20, 2012 at 12:56 am
(2) Linda says:

An important tool to add for fighting depression is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which has been shown to be as effective as medication by experts in the field of depression. I taught it to myself years ago from a book by David Burns called ” Feeling Good”. He has since come out with an expanded version which is more of a workbook. Using these techniques helped me enormously though after a head injury I did need to add medication for a while.

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