1 in 3 Americans has dementia at time of death

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 1, 2013

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While deaths from major health conditions, such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke are declining, deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise, said an annual report issued March 19 by the Alzheimer’s Assn. A person is considered to have died of Alzheimer’s if the illness is listed as the underlying cause of death, the report said.

In 2010, there were 83,494 deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. That marks a 68% increase from 2000 (link).

One in three older adults has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia at the time of death. As the nation’s population ages, the number of people with the progressive neurological disorder could triple in the next 40 years, said a study published online Feb. 6 in Neurology.

An estimated 4.7 million adults 65 and older had Alzheimer’s in 2010, and that figure is projected to swell to 13.8 million by 2050, data show. The prevalence of the condition could be reduced if an intervention is identified that delays the onset of the disease, the study said (link).

The Alzheimer’s Assn. report calls for the National Institutes of Health to focus more resources on resolving the Alzheimer’s crisis and for Congress to fully fund implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

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