2007-04-05 / Health & Wellness

Alzheimer's is on the rise

Alzheimer's disease is expected to increase 10 percent in California by 2010, according to the Alzheimer's Association. It reports that there are more than 5 million people nationwide living with the disease, including 4.9 million over age 65. Between 200,000 and 500,000 people under age 65 have early onset Alzheimer's disease.

The greatest risk factor for the disease is increasing age. It is estimated that someone in America develops Alzheimer's every 72 seconds and that by midcentury that figure will increase to every 33 seconds.

Alzheimer's disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the country and the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65, according to the association. Other statistics compiled by the association are:

+Without a cure or effective treatments to delay the onset or progression of the disease, it could affect 7.7 million people by 2030

+By midcentury, the number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to grow to as many as 16 million, more than the total population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined.

+The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias amount to more than $148 billion annually.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, death rates for most major diseases have declined from 200004, while Alzheimer's disease deaths continue upward, increasing 33 percent during that period.

It is estimated that in 2005 unpaid caregivers provided 8.5 billion hours of care, valued at almost $83 billion, to people with Alzheimer's and other dementias. In California alone, caregivers provided 4 million hours of unpaid care at a value of $41 million.

The Alzheimer's Association is a source of information and support for the 5 million Americans with the disease.

For more information, visit www.alzla.org.

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