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Alzheimer's Facts & Statistics

Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging.

  • Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible degeneration of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, personality, and other functions that eventually lead to death from complete brain failure.

Alzheimer's is a growing epidemic.

  • More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, nearly 14 million (13.8 million) Americans over age 65 could be living with the disease, unless scientists develop new approaches to prevent or cure it.

Each day, thousands of American families are forever changed by this disease.

  • Every 67 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer's. By mid-century, someone in America will develop the disease every 33 seconds. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer's disease will be diagnosed this year.

Alzheimer's is on the rise throughout the world.

  • Worldwide, nearly 44 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. By 2030, if breakthroughs are not discovered, we will see an increase to nearly 76 million. By 2050, rates could exceed 135 million.
  • Every four seconds, a new case of dementia occurs somewhere in the world.

The overall economic impact is staggering.

  • If dementia care were a country's economy, it would be the world's 18th largest, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia. If it were a company, it would be the world's largest by annual revenue, exceeding Walmart (US$414 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 billion).

Alzheimer's is projected to cripple America's healthcare system.

  • Total payments for health care, long-term care, and hospice for people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are projected to increase from $200 billion in 2012 to $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2012 dollars). This dramatic rise includes a six-fold increase in government spending under Medicare and Medicaid and a five-fold increase in out-of-pocket spending.

People who have Alzheimer's disease need others to care for them, and many of those providing care are not paid for their time and services.

  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Unpaid caregivers are usually immediate family members or other relatives and friends. In 2011, these people provided an estimated 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at more than $210 billion.

Unpaid caregivers need help.

  • Caring for a person with Alzheimer's or another dementia is often extremely difficult, and many family and other unpaid caregivers experience high levels of emotional stress and depression as a result.
  • Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease has been found to have a negative impact on the health, employment, income, and financial security of many caregivers.

Alzheimer's is the only leading cause of death that is still on the rise.

  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States. For those 65 and older, it is the fifth-leading cause of death.
  • Between 2000 and 2008, deaths attributed to Alzheimer's disease increased 66%, while those attributed to the number one cause of death-heart disease-decreased 13%. This increase reflects changes in patterns of reporting deaths on death certificates over time as well as an increase in the actual number of deaths attributable to Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease is the only major cause of death that significantly increased from 2009 to 2010, while other major causes of death declined.

The United States Government is not spending enough to respond to this growing epidemic.

  • National Institutes of Health funding for HIV/AIDS research is 23 times the level of that for Alzheimer's disease research.
  • Cancer research is 12 times the level spent for Alzheimer's disease research. Yet, there are 5 times as many Americans with Alzheimer's than with HIV, and more people die each year in the United States from Alzheimer's disease than from the two most commonly diagnosed types of cancer (breast and prostate) combined.

Sources for the Alzheimer's disease facts and statistics.

Last Review: 06/15/14

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