According to the Alzheimer's Association’s just released 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, one in three U.S. seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The report shows while deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke, continue to experience significant declines, Alzheimer’s deaths continue to rise—up 68% from 2000 to 2010.
“Unfortunately, today there are no Alzheimer’s survivors. If you have Alzheimer's disease, you either die from it or die with it,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Urgent, meaningful action is necessary, particularly as more and more people age into greater risk for developing a disease that today has no cure and no way to slow or stop its progression.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the only leading cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. Based on 2010 data, Alzheimer’s was reported as the underlying cause of death for 83,494 individuals—those who died from Alzheimer’s. The reportreveals that in 2013 an estimated 450,000 people in the U.S. will die with Alzheimer’s.
A recent study evaluated the contribution of individual common diseases to death using a nationally representative sample of older adults and found dementia was the second largest contributor to death behind heart failure. Among 70 year olds with Alzheimer’s, 61% are expected to die within a decade. Among 70 year olds without Alzheimer’s, only 30% will die within a decade.
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Without medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease, by 2050 the number could reach 13.8 million. Previous estimates suggest up to 16 million.
“With baby boomers reaching the age of elevated risk, we do not have time to do what we have always done,” said Robert Egge, vice president of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association. “The National Institutes of Health needs to reset its priorities and focus its resources on the crisis at our doorstep, and Congress must fully fund implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan to solve the crisis.”