How Common Is Alzheimer's Disease?

By Ruby Cemental

About 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. The disease is rapidly growing. By 2050, this number could potentially rise to 16 million. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed. Soon, that number could increase to a diagnosis every 33 seconds. Let's dive into these figures and how Alzheimer's is impacting families across the world.

Alzheimer's Risk Factors

It is tough to actually predict your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease since every person has different risk factors. But here are some statistics that may indicate whether or not you are more at risk. 

  • 10% of adults age 65 and older have Alzheimer's.

  • Every 5 years after age 65, the risk of developing Alzheimer's doubles.
  • 2/3 of Alzheimer's sufferers are women.

  • African Americans are 2 times as likely as Caucasian to develop Alzheimer's.

  • Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely than Caucasians to develop Alzheimer's.

Given these statistics, an African American woman over 65 has a greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer's than a Caucasian male of the same age. But regardless of gender or race, the risk for everyone doubles every 5 years past 70 years old. 

Early Onset Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's is a complex disease, which can cause changes in the brain long before symptoms appear. Early onset is rare, occurring in only 5 percent of people with the disease. Genetic testing can be used to predict early onset Alzheimer's disease, but not late-set.

Preventing Alzheimer's in a Growing Senior Population

As the population of the United States ages, Alzheimer's is becoming a more common cause of death. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. overall and the 5th leading cause among elderly. The elderly population is anticipated to make up 20% of the overall population by 2030; hence, the growing number of diagnoses in the country. Among people age 70, 61% of those with Alzheimer's are expected to die before the age of 80. For people without Alzheimer's, only 30% are expected to die before 80.

Although the statistics are alarming and there is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease yet, there are things many experts believe you can do to lower the risks of development. 

For more information on how you or a loved one can prevent Alzheimer's or how you can care for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's, refer to our Family Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's & Dementia. Access our free content library by first finding your local Caring office.

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Tags: Alzheimer's & Dementia