Alzheimer's Facts and Statistics
We've all had times when we can't remember where we put our keys or when an appointment was supposed to be. These occasional memory lapses are a normal part of being human. So when should you worry about signs of Alzheimer's Disease? A simple example is: If you forgot where you put your glasses there is no great cause for concern ... but if you've forgotten you wear glasses you have significant reason to worry about your memory problem.
A more extensive list of Alzheimer's Symptoms is as follows: a chronic, progressively worsening problem accompanied by disorientation, problems with judgement, concentration, language and mathematical skills, physical coordination, and sleeplessness, the repetition of the same ideas or movements, the tendency to wander off and get lost, "sunsetting" or restlessness and wandering off in the late afternoon and night, dramatic personality changes, and eventually the loss of the ability to perform basic self-care functions.
Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that already affects millions of Americans and that is expected to affect millions more as the number of people over 50 continues to increase.
After heart disease, cancer, and stroke, Alzheimer's is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly in developed nations. Alzheimer's is most common in people over the age of 65 and affects 11% of those over 65 and 25-50% of those over the age of 85. Although this disease is one of the most common types of dementia among the elderly, it is difficult to diagnose since Alzheimer's-like symptoms are common to many other diseases (AIDS, brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, deficiencies of vitamin E, magnesium, and B vitamins, etc.). Generally, a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is only 85 to 90% accurate, since the only definite diagnoses comes from an after-death biopsy of the diseased brain.
fourth leading cause of death among the elderly in developed nations |
Those most at risk for Alzheimer's are the elderly. With advancing age, their risk of developing the disease increases to an alarming 47% by the age of 85. Family history also plays a role with 54% of those age 80 and over developing Alzheimer's if both parents had the disease. Alzheimer's Disease has increased 10-fold in this century and is sometimes referred to as "the disease of the 20th century," and it is projected to reach epidemic proportions.