Alzheimer's Disease is on the rise in USA: 5 million suffering



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There are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with
Alzheimer's disease in 2007, reports The Alzheimer's Association today.

This number includes 4.9 million people over the age of 65 and between
200,000 and 500,000 people under age 65 with early onset Alzheimer's
disease and other dementias. This is a 10 percent increase from the
previous prevalence nationwide estimate of 4.5 million.

The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is increasing age, and
with 78 million baby boomers beginning to turn 60 last year, it is
estimated that someone in America develops Alzheimer's every 72 seconds; by
mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer's every 33 seconds.

These new estimates, as well as other data concerning the disease and its
effects, are issued today as hundreds of advocates from across the country
gather in the nation's capitol for the Alzheimer's Association's annual
Public Policy Forum. The report titled, 2007 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and
Figures, is being released at a hearing today chaired by Senator Barbara
Mikulski. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Christopher Bond and
Representatives Edward Markey and Christopher Smith have introduced
bipartisan legislation to address problems identified in the Association's
report. The Association's report details the escalation of Alzheimer's
disease which now is the seventh leading cause of death in the country and
the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65. It also offers
numerous statistics that convey the burden that Alzheimer's imposes on
individuals, families, state and federal governments, businesses, and the
nation's health care system. For example:
      Without a cure or effective treatments to delay the onset or
      progression of the Alzheimer's, the prevalence could soar to 7.7
      million people with the disease by 2030, which is more than the
      population of 140 of the 236 United Nations countries.
      By mid-century, the number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to
      grow to as many as 16 million, more than the current total population
      of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined.
      As the prevalence impact of Alzheimer's grows, so does the cost to
      the nation. The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other
      dementias amount to more than $148 billion annually.


"Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures clearly shows the tremendous impact
this disease is having on the nation; and with the projected growth of the
disease, the collective impact on individuals, families, Medicare,
Medicaid, and businesses will be even greater," says Harry Johns, President
and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "However there is hope. There are
currently nine drugs in Phase III clinical trials for Alzheimer's several
of which show great promise to slow or stop the progression of the disease.
This, combined with advancements in diagnostic tools, has the potential to
change the landscape of Alzheimer's."

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, from 2000-2004 death rates have declined for most major
diseases - heart disease (-8 percent), breast cancer (-2.6 percent),
prostate cancer (-6.3 percent) and stroke (-10.4 percent), while
Alzheimer's disease deaths continue to trend upward, increasing 33 percent
during that period.

Medicare currently spends nearly three times as much for people with
Alzheimer's and other dementias than for the average Medicare beneficiary.
Medicare costs are projected to double from $91 billion in 2005 to more
than $189 billion by 2015, more than the current gross national product of
86 percent of the world's countries. In 2005, state and federal Medicaid
spending for nursing home and home care for people with Alzheimer's and
other dementias was estimated at $21 billion; that number is projected to
increase to $27 billion by 2015.

The new report also highlights the impact that Alzheimer's has on states
with more than 6 in 10 (62%) having double digit growth in prevalence by
the end of the decade. In addition, Alaska (+47%), Colorado (+47%), Utah
(+45%), Wyoming (+43%), Nevada (+38%), Idaho (+37%), Oregon (+33%), and
Washington (+33%) will experience increases ranging from one-third to
one-half. The states with the largest numbers of deaths due to Alzheimer's
disease in 2003 were (1) California, (2) Florida, (3) Texas, (4)
Pennsylvania, and (5) Ohio.

The Alzheimer's Association is the first and largest voluntary health
organization dedicated to finding prevention methods, treatments and an
eventual cure for Alzheimer's disease. For more than 25 years, the
Association has provided reliable information and care consultation;
created services for families; increased funding for dementia research; and
influenced public policy changes.

The full text of 2007 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures can be viewed