Alzheimers Hits 5 Million, and Numbers Rapidly Growing
WASHINGTON - According to a report released by the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million people in the U. S. have Alzheimer's disease. That's up 10% from the previous estimate in 2000. The Association further stated that the number of new cases is expected to grow by 400,000 a year.
Alzheimer's is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and is the leading cause of dementia. There is no cure.
Its symptoms are a consistent and steady pattern of memory loss, which creates an inability for a patient to take care of himself or herself and function normally in society.
There are drugs that can slow its progression, but they eventually give way to the disease and stop working. The patient's body typically deteriorates and bodily functions eventually stop.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that as the U.S. baby boom population ages there will be more than 7.7 million cases by 2030, unless a cure is found.
The Association estimates that unless the present situation is mitigated, the amount spent by Medicare on Alzheimer's and other dementias is likely to double from $91 billion in 2005 to $182 billion in 2015.
Harry John's, the President of the Alzheimer's Association notes that there is hope. "There are presently nine drugs in Phase III clinical trials for Alzheimer's and several of these show great potential to slow or stop the disease." He further said, "These drugs combined with advanced diagnostics have the potential to change the future for Alzheimer's".
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Liz Di Bernardo