Alzheimer’s disease is the most detrimental form of dementia or memory loss that can weaken both physical and mental capabilities of an individual. Having found no cure for it at all even after years of scientific research and experiments, Alzheimer’s disease has affected about 5.5 million individuals that are 65 years and older to this day.
The death rates from Alzheimer’s disease have dramatically increased in the recent years with a 55 percent raise from the year 1999 to 2014, as mentioned in the statement by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report also predicted that the coming years will bring about a rather rapid rise in the number of people being afflicted by the Alzheimer’s disease, with 2050 anticipating almost 13.8 million people being diagnosed with it.
An epidemiologist with the CDC recently reported the following to the CBS News, “We’ve known for some time that the number of Alzheimer’s disease deaths have been going up and that can in some way be attributed to the fact that we have a growing number of aging adults in America. Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.”
The progression of Alzheimer’s disease can vary amongst different individuals with a fast or sometimes slow course of action over five or more years. The researchers at the CDC also reflected on how this disease can have a devastating impact on both the patients and their families.
They incorporated the following in their report, “The debilitating nature of Alzheimer’s means that there are financial and societal costs borne by patients and their families, and by states and counties that operate publicly funded long-term care facilities.”
This year, the country is predicted to incur $259 billion for Alzheimer’s disease both in health and care as reported by the Alzheimer’s Association. Medicare and Medicaid will be covering more than two-thirds of these health and care costs.
The findings by CDC also noted the toll Alzheimer’s is taking on the caregivers as many patients are being helped by their family and friends. The researchers asked for a greater support for such caregivers through interventions that can ease the burden of caregiving as well as enhance the care provided to Alzheimer’s patients. They detailed, “Given the increasing number of Alzheimer’s deaths and persons with Alzheimer’s dying at home, there is a growing number of caregivers who likely can benefit from interventions like education, respite care, and home health assistance.”
At the National Institutes of Health, the budget estimated for Alzheimer’s cure research was said to be around $910 million but that of cancer was found to be $5.6 billion. There is an increased need for more funding towards Alzheimer’s research if we are to fight this disease that is destroying a great number of elderly lives on a higher scale with every passing day.
Robert Egge at the Alzheimer’s Associates mentioned, “There’s currently no way to slow Alzheimer’s progression,” said Robert Egge, chief public policy officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. “And Alzheimer’s isn’t robustly funded. Our advocates are aware that’s our mission today.”
Fortunately, more and more advocates are striving to pass a budget through Congress with increased funds towards Alzheimer’s research every year. In fiscal 2017, NIH reported a congressional budget being passed to increase the Alzheimer’s research to a $400 million.