The growing number of Americans with Alzheimer’s, dramatically rising mortality rates and no cure all take a huge toll on people living with the disease, their families and caregivers, and the healthcare system.
The costs of providing care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars in 2018, reaching $277 billion, according to a report from the Alzheimer's Association. Those costs are projected to top $1.1 trillion by 2050.
The report reveals that an American develops Alzheimer's disease every 65 seconds. And if no new treatments are found, the number of people in the United States with Alzheimer’s could reach 13.8 million.
But early detection could lead to lower care costs, according to the report. Early diagnoses during the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage of the disease would lead to costs savings of up to $7.9 trillion, while helping patients maintain their existing cognitive abilities as well as a fulfilling life.
"This year's report illuminates the growing cost and impact of Alzheimer's on the nation's health care system, and also points to the growing financial, physical and emotional toll on families facing this disease," Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association, said in a statement.
The disease also will put a major burden on Medicare and Medicaid, research shows. It typically costs Medicare $23,000 a year for a patient with Alzheimer’s compared to about $7,000 for one without the disease. The problem will only get worse as baby boomers reach the age range when degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s are more common. In fact, one in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer's dementia.
Alzheimer's is among the top 10 causes of death in the United States. But it’s is the only one that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, according to the report. While deaths from other major causes like heart disease continue to drop, Alzheimer's deaths rose 123% between 2000 and 2015.