This September is the 7th World Alzheimer’s Month, a campaign created every September to raise international awareness. A goal for the campaign is to increase an understanding of dementia globally and fight stigmas that may surround it by the unaware and misinformed.
The difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are not one in the same. Dementia is used to refer to a group of symptoms that affect memory while Alzheimer’s is a disease that progressively hinders cognitive function and memory. Most simply put, dementia is an umbrella term and Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia both in the US and globally.
Alzheimer’s Disease in the US
- An estimated 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease
- By 2050, that number is estimated to grow to almost 14 million people. By 2025, every state is expected to see at least a 14% increase.
- Roughly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women
- Up to 5% are younger than 65 and have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 65 seconds in the U.S.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only one in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured.
- 1 in 10 Americans that are 65 or older has Alzheimer’s disease and 1 in 3 seniors die from some type of dementia
- Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined
- From 2000 to 2014, there was an 89% increase in Alzheimer’s related deaths
- Around 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for dementia patients. In 2017, it is estimated over 18.2 billion hours of care was given and is valued at over $230 billion.
- In 2017, the disease cost the nation $259 billion. 2018’s cost of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to the country is an estimated $277 billion and by 2050 it could be almost $1.1 trillion.
- Up to $7.9 trillion in medical costs could be saved with an early and accurate diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s Disease Globally
- Over 44 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Every 3 seconds there is a new case of dementia
- Only 1 in 4 people with Alzheimer’s disease are actually diagnosed
- Alzheimer’s and dementia are most prevalent in Western Europe (with North America a close second) and least found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- The top cause for disability in later life is Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
- The total cost of Alzheimer’s and dementia worldwide is estimated to be over $605 billion — which equals 1% of the world’s GDP–, with some estimates as high as $808 billion.
- If it were a country, it would be the 18th largest economy and if it were a company, it would be the largest in the world, even beating Apple and Google, by annual revenue
Early detection can help with treatment and care, so contact a doctor if you think you may be developing Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
- Memory loss
- Trouble planning or solving problems
- Issues completing familiar tasks
- Challenges with remembering times, dates, and seasons
- Vision problems and judging spacial relations
- Difficulty with conversations or words when speaking or writing
- Misplacing items and unable to retrace steps
- Issues with making decisions and an increase of poor judgment
- Withdrawal from activities
- Mood changes
While some of these may seem like normal aging-related problems, the frequency and severity of an issue should be considered. Sometimes forgetting may not be an alarming factor, but if it’s happening often or disrupting daily life it may be a sign to seek help.