Alzheimer's, related dementia will double by 2020 in the United States

World Alzheimer's Day

Over 3% of the population - almost 14 million Americans - may have Alzheimer's disease or related dementias by 2060, according to a new CDC report.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause among those aged 65 and older.

Of the 5 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related dementias in 2014, the lowest prevalence was in Asian and Pacific Islanders (8.4 percent) and the highest in African-Americans (13.8 percent).

"This study shows that as the USA population increases, the number of people affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias will rise, especially among minority populations", said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield.

September is observed as Alzheimer's Month and the focus is on early intervention by creating awareness about the warning symptoms of dementia. Governments have an obligation to support the 50 million people now living with dementia, and their families, which, again, is projected to increase exponentially to 152 million by 2050.

"This study shows that as the USA population increases, the number of people affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias will rise, especially among minority populations", said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

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Many Americans want to participate in Alzheimer's research, but there's still a shortage of study participants.

As a percentage of the population, that's more than double over four decades.

The study, published Wednesday in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, was the first to look at race and ethnicity in relation to dementia and its future. Among Hispanics, 12.2 percent were diagnosed with these conditions, along with 10.3 percent of whites and 9.1 percent of American Indian and Alaska natives.

By 2060, the CDC researchers estimated that 3.2 million Hispanics and 2.2 million black Americans will be afflicted with Alzheimer's or a related dementia.

"If you count how many people have the pathology in the brain that says they're on their way, that goes up to closer to 20 million", Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a neurologist and Alzheimer's specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, told NBC News in a Facebook Live conversation Friday.

If we are to make real progress towards addressing stigma and supporting those living with dementia, we need every government to develop awareness of and access to diagnosis for dementia.

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