Alzheimer's Rates Rising Quickly
> 3/21/2007 10:09:11 AM

As the average age of our population shifts upward, a considerably larger number of citizens are suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and experts believe that these percentages will only continue to grow. The Alzheimer's Association reports at least 5 million Americans currently diagnosed with the disease, as many as 500 thousand of whom are under the age of 65. Among the over-85 population, the prevalence of Alzheimer's is nearly 50 percent. Researchers believe that the overall number of Alzheimer's patients will triple over the next 50 years.

Unfortunately, one of the major factors in this equation is our increasing medical efficiency and reductions in the mortality rates of our most common killers - where deaths by heart disease, cancer and stroke have declined by degrees over the last five years, deaths attributed to Alzheimer's have risen more than 33 percent. While the medical advances leading to longer life expectancies are hardly a bad thing, dementia patients require, on average, much more attentive and expensive treatment than others, and the disease will become an even larger financial concern in the coming years as an increasing number of affected seniors rely on government-sponsored programs to at least partially cover their care. A number of drugs are currently in development to address the problem, but it is unlikely that an Alzheimer's cure will emerge soon, and current medications only delay its detrimental effects.

According to researchers involved with the report, its most significant implication is that a considerable number of younger citizens are currently suffering from Alzheimer's, and many of them have yet to be diagnosed. Common symptoms like forgetfulness and depression may be present long before the age of 65 only to be either dismissed as the regular effects of age or hidden due to fears of an early diagnosis. Speculation on the growing scope of the disease's influence is frightening, but the epidemic is already in place, and until we have a clearer idea what causes Alzheimer's and how we can most effectively fight it with medication and additional treatment, we are going to have to find a way to make changes in our healthcare industry in order to accomodate it.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy