Over the past 2 decades, the mortality rates for heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and many other well-known killers, have steadily declined. However, the death rate attributed to Alzheimer’s disease has steadily risen. Moreover, there are tens, or even hundreds of thousands of Americans that die every year with Alzheimer’s disease, but the death is associated with another condition.
Take for example, President Ronald Reagan. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, and spoke about it publicly later that year. After battling the disease for more than 10 years, President Reagan passed away in 2004. His death certificate listed his cause of death as pneumonia, not Alzheimer’s disease. This is a very common occurrence. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses through the final stages, the brain is no longer able to control the body and perform many of its normal functions, resulting in difficulty swallowing, incontinence, and balance and stability issues. More often than not, the cause of death for an individual battling Alzheimer’s disease is listed as pneumonia, infection, or organ failure. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that Alzheimer’s disease results in roughly 84,000 deaths each year in the United States, but recent studies put that figure as high as 503,000 in 2010, when including deaths associated with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. When considering mortality rate this high, it puts Alzheimer’s disease on the same plane as cancer. Additionally, many studies estimate that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is going to triple by the year 2050, and will make it the number one killer in the United States.
There has been a significant increase in attention given to fighting this terrible disease, and this increase will hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis, and treatment, and possibly even into prevention. Although recent funding levels for Alzheimer’s disease research are roughly 10% of funding level for cancer research, the additional public awareness and attention will help push congress into increasing federal funding toward fighting this debilitating disease. Until then, the epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease will continue to rapidly increase. Take a moment to write to your legislator and urge them assist in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease today. We at Centennial Adultcare Center have been providing services to those with the disease for more than 29 years. Contact us today if you or anyone you know could use assistance in caring for a loved one afflicted by this disease.