Alzheimer’s Disease Facts

Alzheimer’s Disease Facts

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It is a well-known fact that Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of Dementia, but did you know that over 6 million people within the United States are currently living with Dementia? Get all the current Alzheimer’s Disease facts and statistics right here.

What is the Most Common form of Dementia?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of Dementia. Other common types include:

●      Vascular Disease

●      Lewy Body Dementia

●      Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

●      Mixed Dementia

●      Frontotemporal Dementia

●      Huntington’s Disease

●      Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

●      Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

●      Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

What is Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of Dementia. It is a disorder in the brain that affects your memory, thinking, and behavior. Over time it progressively gets worse and will eventually affect your day-to-day life. It starts with minimal symptoms in early-stage Dementia. When you start to see signs of Dementia, those living with Alzheimer’s Disease enter middle stage Dementia. Over time symptoms worsen and require help with day-to-day activities; this is usually when loved ones enter late-stage Dementia.

Scientists continue to research and investigate Alzheimer’s Disease. It is caused by abnormal buildups of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tangles. Initial damage occurs in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex. This leads healthy neurons to stop functioning correctly and lose connections with other neurons, which causes them to die. As the neurons die, other parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink, leading to widespread damage. By the time late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease occurs, there is minimal brain damage that is not affected.

Quick Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of Dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease beginning with very mild symptoms that progressively get worse.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease affects the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, which are the parts of the brain that controls thoughts, memory, and language.

Who has Alzheimer’s Disease?

Who has Alzheimer’s Disease

There are over 6 million people with Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States. Alzheimer’s Disease affects those 65 years old and older in most cases. Less than 5% of those living with Alzheimer’s are under 65; this is called early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The risk of getting Alzheimer’s increases with age.

Quick Facts about those who have Alzheimer’s Disease

  • More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops Dementia.
  • 11.3% of individuals over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • About ⅔ of individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease are women.
  • Younger people may develop Alzheimer’s Disease, but it is less common. This is called early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It makes up about 5% of those with Alzheimer’s.
  • The number of those living with Alzheimer’s Disease doubles every five years after the age of 65. Projections report that 13 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s by 2050.
  • Black Americans are 2x more likely to have Alzheimer’s than older whites. Older Hispanics are 1 ½ x more likely to have Alzheimer’s Disease than older whites.
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of Dementia.
  • In the United States, Alzheimer’s and Dementia deaths have increased 16% since March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s Disease will be diagnosed this year.

What Do we Know About Alzheimer’s Disease?

What Do we Know About Alzheimer's Disease

Scientists continue to study Alzheimer’s Disease, but yet no one fully understands this Disease. Several likely factors play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. We know that age, family history, and changes in the brain play a factor in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Facts About What we know about Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Age is the number 1 risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • ⅔ of individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease are women.
  • Family history. Scientists believe that genetics may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s in the brain.
  • Two long-term studies have shown that physical activities, healthy eating, limited alcohol use, and not smoking could limit your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
  • Changes begin to occur in the brain about ten years prior to individuals living with Alzheimer’s showing their first sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.

When was Alzheimer’s Disease Discovered?

In 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer discovered changes in a woman’s brain tissue that had died from an unusual mental illness. Upon further investigation, she had problems with mental illness, language, memory loss, and her behavior. After her death, Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain to discover amyloid plaques and tangles. These plaques and tangles continue to be the leading cause and first sign of Alzheimer’s within the brain.

What is the Life Expectancy of Someone Living with Alzheimer’s?

Since Alzheimer’s affects everyone differently, there is no way to predict the life expectancy of someone living with Alzheimer’s Disease. On average, individuals living with Alzheimer’s will live three to 4 years once they are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; however, those diagnosed at younger ages can live ten or more years.

What is the Burden of Alzheimer’s Disease?

What is the Burden of Alzheimer's Disease

With so many individuals living with Alzheimer’s, what is the burden of this Disease? It is estimated that more than 6 million people are living with Alzheimer’s in the USA. Still, many more are affected by carrying the burden of being caregivers for loved ones who currently have Alzheimer’s. Many others are showing signs that are still undiagnosed.

Quick Facts About the Burden of Alzheimer’s

  • Alzheimer’s is one of the leading deaths in the United States (top 10)
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death among adults in the US.
  • Alzheimer’s is the 5th leading cause of death in individuals over the age of 65.
  • It is estimated in 2021, Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementia will cost the US 355 Billion dollars by 2050. This could cost as much as $1.2 trillion.
  • At least 11 million Americans provide care for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia for free.
  • It is estimated that in 2020, caregivers gave 15.3 billion hours of care to help those living with Alzheimer’s, totaling nearly 257 billion dollars.
  • 83% of the individuals that help those living with Alzheimer’s are unpaid and come from family members, friends, and other unpaid caregivers.

Who provides care to those living with Alzheimer’s?

When is a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, who is most likely to provide care for them? Is the care paid for or unpaid? These facts about who the caregivers are might surprise you.

Quick Facts about the Caregivers helping those with Alzheimer’s

  • Most caregivers are unpaid (83%). These usually are family members or friends.
  • 30% of caregivers are over the age of 65.
  • 66% of caregivers helping those living with Alzheimer’s are women.
  • Over ⅓ of caregivers are daughters.
  • ¼ of dementia caregivers take care of individuals living with Dementia and care for children under the age of 18 at the same time. 66% of caregivers live with the individuals in the community. This is called “sandwich generation” caregivers.
  • Being a caregiver with someone with Dementia is hard on the caregiver. They suffer from emotional, financial, and physical difficulties.

How much does Alzheimer’s cost the Nation (USA)?

Alzheimer’s Disease is costly not only to the family but the nation as well. It is actually one of the most expensive conditions in the USA. It will cost the country about $355 billion this year. Unless Alzheimer’s slows, it is estimated by 2050, it will cost over $1.1 trillion.

Quick Facts about Alzheimer’s costs to the USA

  • Individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia have twice as many hospital stays than other individuals over the age of 65.
  • Individuals living with Alzheimer’s are more likely than others to have other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
  • Individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease that stay in skilled nursing facilities have more home health care visits than those older individuals living without Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Those living with Alzheimer’s are a large portion of elderly individuals who receive nursing home care and adult day services.

Do Race and Ethnicity Play a Role in Alzheimer’s Disease?

For years there has been the call for health care to be accessible and equal to all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or social status. The Report Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America shows that we have more work to do.

  • Discrimination is still being reported as a barrier to receiving care for Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia.
  • 50% Black Americans
  • 42% of Native Americans
  • 34% of Asian Americans
  • 33% of Hispanic Americans
  • At least 50% of caregivers of color helping those living with Dementia say they have faced discrimination when navigating the healthcare system when trying to help their care recipient get the proper care they need.
  • 63% Native American
  • 61% of Black Americans
  • 56% of Hispanic Americans
  • 47% of Asian Americans
  • Black Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely to be living with Alzheimer’s but are less likely to be diagnosed as compared to White Americans.
  • Hispanic Americans, Black Americans, and Native Americans are 2x likely to admit that they will not see a doctor if they are experiencing thinking or memory problems.

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