Prevalence

There is a rapid growth in the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, and only around one in four people with the disease get diagnosed.

It is estimated that there are approximately 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. In the U.S., an estimated 5.5 million people of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. Of these, around 5.3 million are 65 and older and 200,000 are younger and have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

About two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women. This equals to 3.3 million women, age 65 and older having Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. and two million men.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are most common in Western Europe (with North America close behind) and least common in Sub-Saharan Africa. African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia as whites. Hispanics are about 1.5 times as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia as whites.

Reports from the National Institute on Aging indicate that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond the age of 65. As the population ages, the disease impacts a greater percentage of people. At present, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. It is thought that by the middle of the century, someone in the U.S. will develop the disease every 33 seconds and the total number of people with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. could rise to as high as 16 million people by 2050.

Mortality

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 89 percent while those from heart disease have decreased. Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth-leading cause of death among those aged 65 and older and a leading cause of disability and poor health. Typical life expectancy after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is four to eight years.

Caregivers

It is estimated that one to four family members act as caregivers for each individual with Alzheimer’s disease. In 2016, 15.9 million family and friends provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance to those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in the U.S., a contribution to the nation valued at $230.1 billion.

Compared to caregivers of people without dementia, caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease indicate substantial emotional, financial, and physical difficulties. About 35 percent of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities.

Economic impact

The costs of health care and long-term care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are substantial. The global cost of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is estimated to be $605 billion, which is equivalent to one percent of the entire world’s gross domestic product.

In the U.S., total payments in 2017 for all individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are estimated to be around $259 billion, with $175 billion covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Out-of-pocket spending is estimated to be $56 billion. By 2050, Alzheimer’s disease could cost the U.S. as much as $1.1 trillion.

 

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