Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the seventh leading cause of all deaths in the United States and is virtually tied with the sixth leading cause of death-diabetes. AD is the fifth leading cause of death in Americans aged 65 and older. Although other major causes of death have been on the decrease, deaths because of AD have been rising dramatically. Between 2000 and 2006, heart disease deaths decreased 11.1%, stroke deaths decreased 18.2%, and prostate cancer-related deaths decreased 8.7%, whereas deaths because of AD increased 46.1%. Older African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than older white Americans to have AD or other dementia. Current estimates are that African-Americans are about 2 times more likely, and Hispanics about 1.5 times more likely, than their white counterparts to have these conditions. However, the relationship of race and ethnicity to the development of AD and other dementias is complex and not fully understood. In 2009, nearly 11 million family and other unpaid caregivers provided an estimated 12.5 billion hours of care to persons with AD and other dementias; this care is valued at nearly $144 billion. Medicare payments for services to beneficiaries aged 65 years and older with AD and other dementias are three times higher than for beneficiaries without these conditions. Total payments for 2010 for health care and long-term care services for people aged 65 and older with AD and other dementias are expected to be $172 billion (not including the contributions of unpaid caregivers). An estimated 5.3 million Americans have AD; approximately 200,000 persons under age 65 with AD comprise the younger-onset AD population. Every 70 seconds, someone in America develops AD; by 2050 the time of every 70 seconds is expected to decrease to every 33 seconds. Over the coming decades, the baby boom population is projected to add 10 million people to these numbers. In 2050, the incidence of AD is expected to approach nearly a million people per year, with a total estimated prevalence of 11-16 million people. Dramatic increases in the numbers of "oldest old" (aged 85 years and older) across all racial and ethnic groups will also significantly affect the numbers of people living with AD. This report provides information to increase understanding of the public health effect of AD, including incidence and prevalence, mortality, costs of care, and effect on caregivers and society in general. This report also sets the stage for better understanding the relationship between race and ethnicity and the development of AD and other dementias.
PMID: 20298981 [ - ]