THE SHARE OF AMERICANS with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is expected to more than double by 2060 as people increasingly survive into older adulthood, according to a studyfrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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An estimated 5 million older adults had Alzheimer’s or a related dementia in 2014, and by 2060 that figure is expected to rise to 13.9 million, or about 3.3 percent of the U.S. population, according to the report, which evaluated health claims data for more than 28 million Medicare beneficiaries.
Alzheimer’s – the fifth-leading cause of death for adults 65 and older and the sixth-leading cause of death for Americans overall – destroys memory and cognitive functioning and poses a greater risk as people age.
“Early diagnosis is key to helping people and their families cope with loss of memory, navigate the health care system, and plan for their care in the future,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.
The report also highlights stark racial and ethnic disparities among those who develop dementia. Among adults 65 and older, an estimated 13.8 percent of black Americans had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in 2014, compared with 12.2 percent of Hispanics, 10.3 percent of whites and 8.4 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders.
By 2060, 3.2 million Hispanics and 2.2 million African-Americans will be burdened by Alzheimer’s or a related disorder, the study said, with that increase driven in large part by non-white population growth that will far outpace that of the white population.
“Given that some states have higher proportions of minority populations, this report can help support policy development and mobilize partnerships that specifically account for the disease burden in minority populations … (and) support efforts to develop a culturally competent workforce of health care providers of all types,” the study said.