Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease skyrocketed in recent years, rising 55 percent in just 15 years. In 2014, there were 93,541 deaths from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States as compared with 44,536 in 1999, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts said the climbing rate was likely due to better diagnosis of the disease, an aging population and an increased willingness among doctors to ascribe death to Alzheimer’s. The CDC also noted that declines in other causes of death, like heart disease and cancer, were enabling people to live long enough to die of Alzheimer’s.
There is currently no cure for the disease, but certain medicines can slow its progression.
Some experts noted that the numbers might be misleading due to better diagnosis.
“People are more aware,” Gayatri Devi, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told USA Today. “We are able to make a diagnosis much earlier.”
Still, Alzheimer’s was the sixth leading cause of death in the nation, according to the data. The researchers said most of the deaths occurred in a nursing home or long-term care facility and highlighted the burden of Alzheimer’s disease on caregivers.
“Millions of Americans and their family members are profoundly affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” said CDC acting director Anne Schuchat, according to NBC News. “As the number of older Americans with Alzheimer’s disease rises, more family members are taking on the emotionally and physically challenging role of caregiver than ever before. These families need and deserve our support.”
Those who care for Alzheimer’s patients bear a hefty burden, according to data on the subject. Nearly half of caretakers cut back on their own expenses like food and medical care to take care of others….