Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia among older adults, affects parts of the brain that control thinking, remembering and making decisions. It can seriously impair a person’s ability to complete daily activities. An estimated 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, at a cost of $200 billion in health care expenses in 2012, including $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Health care costs related to the condition are expected to rise to 1.1 trillion dollars in 2050.
According to a new NCHS report, in 2010 Alzheimer’s disease was the sixth leading cause of death for all Americans, accounting for a total of 83,494 deaths and contributing to the death of 26,488 additional Americans. Mortality from the disease has also steadily increased during the last 30 years. The report also found that women had a 30 percent higher risk of dying from the disease than men.
Key findings from the report:
• The age-adjusted death rate from Alzheimer’s disease increased by 39 percent from 2000 through 2010 in the United States.
• Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the fifth leading cause among people aged 65 years and over. People aged 85 years and over have a 5.4 times greater risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease than people aged 75–84 years.
• The risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease is 26 percent higher among the non-Hispanic white population than among the non-Hispanic black population, whereas the Hispanic population has a 30 percent lower risk than the non-Hispanic white population.
• In 2010, among all states and the District of Columbia, 31 states showed death rates from Alzheimer’s disease that were above the national rate (25.1).