Local Alzheimer’s disease expert returns from the 30th International Alzheimer’s Conference in Perth, Australia with startling statistics. Mary Demakes, Registered Nurse and President of Private Home Health Care, Inc. attended the annual conference with more than 1,500 delegates from over 60 countries.
Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss, Alzheimer’s kills. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the US for those 65 and older. It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in American that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. Today, “5.3 million American’s are living with Alzheimer’s disease including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65. Growth estimates suggest that by 2050, up to 16 million will have the disease,” said Mary Demakes. “Nearly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s disease 3.2 million are women. Specifically, every 67 seconds in the US, someone gets diagnosed with the disease and 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Yet, only 45% of the people with Alzheimer’s or their caregivers report being told they have the disease” added Demakes. The growing Alzheimer’s crisis is helping to bankrupt Medicare with direct costs of caring for those with the disease, at an estimated $226 billion, of which Medicare bares half.
Current research offer some promise to those afflicted with the disease by providing tools to diagnose Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages. Structural imaging studies show that the brains of those with the disease shrink significantly. Functional imaging research suggests those with the disease have reduced brain cell activity in certain regions. Neuroimaging is among the most promising areas of research focused on early detection. Molecular strategies aim to detect biological clues prior to the disease taking a toll on the “brain structure, function memory, thinking and reasoning” www.alz.org/facts. Current imaging technologies provide researchers with the tools for early detection, better monitoring, and a better understanding of the disease — which will in time lead to a cure.
To help combat the disease, join Private Home Health Care in sharing your story on “Why Your Brain Matters” with Maria Shiver’s “Wipe Out Alzheimer’s Challenge” at https://mybrain.alz.org/you.aspx.