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Alzheimer’s Facts and Statistics for 2019: Everything You Need to Know

By | June 6th, 2019

The 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report reveals that one in 10 Americans age 65 or older have Alzheimer’s disease. While researchers look for an Alzheimer’s cure, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) recently awarded $3.5 million to researchers focused on promising early-detection Alzheimer’s tests ranging from blood tests to eye tests that can diagnose Alzheimer’s early and affordably. The latest Alzheimer’s disease facts and statistics illustrate why researchers are determined to find a cure or halt the disease’s progression. Ahead, some interesting facts about Alzheimer’s, and your guide to the most common questions.

How Many People Have Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States?

Over 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Statisticians predict that in the next 30 years, 13.8 million people may be living with Alzheimer’s if researchers aren’t able to prevent or find a cure for the disease.

How Many People Have Alzheimer’s Disease Worldwide?

Recent statistics show that about 50 million people around the world have Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

Facts from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that about 60 percent of people living with dementia worldwide are from a low- or middle-income country.

“The total number of people with dementia is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050,” WHO said. To put that in perspective, the current population of the U.S. is 329 million.

In fact, dementia is now the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom, pushing heart disease into second place. This finding comes from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the Office for National Statistics.

Alzheimer's disease facts
Nearly 50 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia

How Many People Are Living with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s?

Fact: Early-onset Alzheimer’s is considered a relatively rare form of the condition, accounting for 10 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases. There are an estimated 200,000 people in the U.S. living with early-onset Alzheimer’s, which is a diagnosis before 65 years old. While some people develop Alzheimer’s in their 40’s or 50’s, others can develop the disease as early as their 30’s. Processes that eventually lead to Alzheimer’s symptoms, including a build-up of brain plaques, can start as early as our 20’s.

Related: Is it Early Onset Alzheimer’s? A Neuropsychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University Weighs In

How Many People Have Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s?

Here’s an interesting Alzheimer’s fact: Even though the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” are often used interchangeably, dementia is not actually a disease. Dementia describes symptoms that affect the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, making up 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Learn more about the differences between Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What Gender Is Most Impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is often referred to as a “woman’s disease.” Recent facts show that two-thirds of all Alzheimer’s cases are in women.

Researchers are still investigating why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than men are.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2019 report suggests that while scientists previously thought the discrepancy is due to women living longer, some researchers think genetics, hormones or lifestyle could lead to a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s among women.

Dr. Marie Pasinski, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and neurologist at Massachusetts General’s Institute for Brain Health said scientists have found that women have more Alzheimer’s risk factors than men. For example, studies have found that lower education levels, limited exercise and stress can all be detrimental to brain health. Pasinski said that in the past, women were not afforded as many educational opportunities as men and were often excluded from sports, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to brain health.

Also, more women than men become caregivers for a sick parent or child, something that could increase stress levels. In addition to exploring how lifestyle experiences may put women at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s, scientists like Dr. Pauline Maki are studying how hormones could impact memory, including the connection between estrogen, menopause and memory loss.

What Is the Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States?

Alzheimer's disease facts
In the U.S., the economic cost of Alzheimer’s continues to rise

There’s no question that Alzheimer’s disease is an expensive one. Consider this sobering fact: Statistics show that the combined cost of health care, long-term care and hospice in the U.S. will be $290 billion this year. Last year, the Alzheimer’s Association reported that the disease cost the U.S. $277 billion, $20 billion more than the previous year.

What Is the Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease on Caregivers?

Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia shoulder a heavy load. The latest facts on Alzheimer’s show that caregivers spent over 18.5 billion hours of their own time last year, “a contribution valued at nearly $234 billion,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s report. In addition, the report found that 83 percent of these caregivers—mostly family and friends—were unpaid.

Similar to last year, nearly two-thirds of these caregivers were women. Among these caregivers, 41 percent made a combined household income of $50,000 or less. “The total lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia was estimated at $350,174 in 2018,” the Alzheimer’s Association said.

Read More: How Do You Cover the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care?

What Is the Average Life Expectancy of Someone Living with Alzheimer’s Disease?

Life expectancy varies depending on the person or when someone developed the disease. The Mayo Clinic reports that in general, most people live for three to 11 years after they are diagnosed, though some people may live for over 20 years after a diagnosis.

Learn about the final stage of Alzheimer’s and how you die from Alzheimer’s.

Is Alzheimer’s a Leading Cause of Death?

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., but the National Institute on Aging notes that among older people, the disease could be the third leading cause of death, right behind heart disease and cancer.

The Alzheimer’s Association found that Alzheimer’s deaths have increased by 145 percent between 2000 and 2017. A 2014 study discovered that in 2010, nearly 503,400 people who were over age 75 died from some form of dementia. This estimate was about five times higher than most predictions.

A report by Public Health England found that in 2016, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were the most common cause of death in the U.K. among women. The report states that while mortality rates were decreasing for cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer, mortality rates for Alzheimer’s are expected to rise between 2017 and 2023. A more recent report by Alzheimer’s Research UK states that Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are now the main cause of death in the U.K. Here, dementia was the main cause of death for women and second leading cause of death for men.

The WHO predicts that worldwide, dementia deaths will increase by more than 40 percent between 2015 and 2030.

How Can I Reduce My Dementia and Alzheimer’s Risk?

The WHO recently reported that moderate cardiovascular exercise, diet, quitting smoking, drinking in moderate amounts (or eliminating alcohol altogether) and avoiding social isolation can all cut your dementia risk. Get more details on how to reduce Alzheimer’s risk here.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s and brain health here.

If you find our articles and interviews helpful, please consider becoming a supporting member of our community. Frustrated by the lack of an editorially independent source of information on brain health and Alzheimer’s disease, we decided to create Being Patient. We are a team of dedicated journalists covering the latest research on Alzheimer’s, bringing you access to the experts and elevating the patient perspective on what it’s like to live with dementia.

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