As the United States of America’s aging population keeps growing, so does the people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. According to a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2060, the number of Americans suffering from these diseases will increase by 178%.
To put that into simpler words, the US burden will double in time from 1.6% of the population (5 million people) in 2014 to nearly 3.3% (13.9 million people) in 2060.
The study was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association on Wednesday and it was the first to look at ethnicity and race in relation to dementia and its future.
The authors say that related dementias and Alzheimer’s disease are “characterized by a decline in memory leading to loss of independence.” Symptoms can include a decline in skills such as reduced judgment or reasoning and word finding and memory loss according to the National Institute on Aging. Treatments include “helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down certain problems, such as memory loss.” Dementia and Alzheimer’s are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
The lowest prevalence of the 5 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementias in 2014 was in Asian and Pacific Islanders (8.4%), and the African-Americans (13.8%) were the highest. Divided by ethnicity, among Hispanics, 12.2% were diagnosed with these conditions, along with 9.1% of American Indian and Alaska natives and10.3% of whites. In 2014 fewer men (9.2%) than women (13.3%) were diagnosed.
According to the study, the highest number of cases have the non-Hispanic whites because of the size of the population, but the highest projected increase is faced by Hispanics. Around 2030 diagnoses in whites are expected to plateau, but in other populations, the number of cases will continue to grow, the study found.