Posted on April 7, 2014 by Katy Miller
According to a new study released by the American Academy of Neurology, Alzheimer’s disease is actually the third leading cause of death in the United States, ranking behind only heart disease and cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list Alzheimer’s disease sixth on the list; however, the study concluded that causes of death, in many cases, overshadowed the presence and impact of Alzheimer’s in the aging population. Rather than reported cause of death and death certificates, the methodology focused on dementia-related health complications. For example, it’s often the case that advanced Alzheimer’s patients become frail and develop other illnesses, such as pneumonia or arthritis, which eventually lead to their passing; however, if not for the presence of the memory impairment, it’s quite possible that these patients could survive a secondary illness like these.
Currently, more than 5 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease. As the baby boomer population comes of age, that number is expected to nearly triple by 2050.
And, with no cure on the horizon, these new conclusions are especially troubling.
The Washington Post wrote an excellent analysis of the report, which is worth a good read. You can find it here.
Perhaps one of the best outcomes we can hope for when a study like this is released is greater funding to find better treatment, or even a cure.