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Posted: March 25, 2008

Chilling Warning: 1 in 8 Boomers Likely to Get Alzheimer's

As many as 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetime, making the incurable and fatal condition one of the biggest threats to this large and fast-aging segment of the US population, according to new research released by the Alzheimer’s Association.
 
Today, as many as 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, which includes between 200,000-500,000 people under age 65 with young-onset Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.
 
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Experts predict by 2010, there will be almost a half million new cases of Alzheimer's disease each year; and by 2050, there will be almost a million new cases each year. Eventually, the report says, the disease will strike one out of every eight baby boomers.
 
Alzheimer's disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65. The Alzheimer’s Association report offers numerous statistics that convey the burden Alzheimer's imposes on individuals, caregiving families, government, business, and the nation's health care and long-term care systems. For example:
 
"The information in the 2008 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures makes it clear the Alzheimer’s crisis cannot be ignored -- not when 10 million baby boomers are at risk for developing this fatal disease," said Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "Unchecked, this disease will impose staggering consequences on families, the economy and the nation's health and long-term care infrastructure."
 
According to the latest statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death rates between 200 and 2005 declined for most major diseases -- heart disease (-8.6%), breast cancer (-.8%), prostate cancer (-4.9%) and stroke (-14.4%), but Alzheimer's deaths continued to trend upward, increasing 45% during that period.
 
"We have the opportunity to change the trajectory of this disease now. Today's scientific landscape is rich with possible disease-modifying treatments, but the shrinking investment in Alzheimer’s research threatens these breakthroughs," Johns said. "There is real hope for a better future where Alzheimer's is no longer a death sentence but how fast we get there depends on how much we are willing to invest today."
 
Johns says Medicare currently spends more than three times as much for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias than for the average Medicare beneficiary. In 2005, Medicare spent $91 billion on beneficiaries with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and it is projected to spend $160 billion by 2010 and $189 billion by 2015.
 
In 2005, state and federal Medicaid spending for nursing home and home care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias was estimated at $21 billion and is projected to increase to $24 billion in 2010 and $27 billion in 2015.
 
Click here for the complete Alzheimer’s Association report.
 
(Article courtesy of ConsumerAffairs.com)

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