Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dementia Second-Largest Contributor to Death

One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia in the United States, according to an Alzheimer's Association report released today. The new report shows that while deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and stroke, continue to decline, Alzheimer’s deaths continue to rise — increasing 68 percent from 2000 to 2010.

The report examined  the contribution of individual common diseases to death using a nationally representative sample of older adults and found that dementia was the second-largest contributor to death trailing only heart failure. Among 70-year-olds with Alzheimer’s disease, 61 percent are expected to die within a decade. Among 70-year-olds without Alzheimer’s, only 30 percent will die within a decade. "Unfortunately, today there are no Alzheimer’s survivors. If you have Alzheimer's disease, you either die from it or die with it,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, in a statement. “Urgent, meaningful action is necessary, particularly as more and more people age into greater risk for developing a disease that today has no cure and no way to slow or stop its progression.”

For much more information on this topic, see American Psychiatric Publishing's A Clinical Manual of Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias here. Also see coverage in Psychiatric News here and here.

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