Have you noticed how it seems that so many folks are developing Alzheimer’s disease these days?
Is it becoming more prevalent lately? Or is it just the fact that we are more exposed to this because of the media? Or has there really been a dramatic increase in the numbers of folks afflicted by this condition over the past twenty years or so? These older folks who are succumbing to this disease grew up in the last century. They were the Great Depression and WWII era (1925-1945) children. Now they’re dying from Alzheimer’s. Why is that?
I was sitting with my elderly aunts and uncles recently at their every Wednesday coffee get-together. The topic of Alzheimer’s came up. One of my aunts mentioned that everyone their age and older seem to all be dying from Alzheimer’s these days. I believe she was exaggerating. I asked all of them to name all the people they knew who were currently afflicted or had died from Alzheimer’s. Between all of us, we could only come up with one person that we knew personally who qualified.
Below are some stats straight from the Centers for Disease Control:
(Data are for the U.S.)
Number of hospice care discharges with Alzheimer’s as primary diagnosis: 39,400 (2007)
Percent of hospice care discharges with Alzheimer’s as primary diagnosis: 3.8% (2007)
Nursing home care
Number of residents with Alzheimer’s: 231,900
Percent of residents with Alzheimer’s: 15.5%
Number of deaths: 74,632
Deaths per 100,000 population: 24.7
Cause of death rank: 6
Click HERE to see the complete statistics from CDC.
OK, so 24.7 deaths in 100,000 folks. Let’s see, that would work out to about .25 death’s in a 100 people, so 1/4 of 1 percent died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. Is my math right here? That doesn’t seem like an epidemic to me. Well, that doesn’t lessen the the suffering that an individual and his/her family members go though because of this disease. I read in today’s paper that there may be some interesting new treatment options regarding inhaled insulin. Let’s hope progress will continue to be made to combat this debilitating and terrible disease in the near future.
Further reading: Health Buzz: Insulin May Slow Alzheimer’s
Image credits: elderly couple hosted by Alzheimers.org. Please visit their site for much more information on Alzheimer’s Disease.