A new study has ranked Alzheimer’s disease as the third-leading cause of death in the United States.The first place is occupied by heart disease followed by cancer. Chronic lung disease, stroke and accidents rank fourth, fifth and sixth.
The study says Alzheimer’s likely plays a much larger role in the deaths of older Americans than they are actually reported.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC report has kept it far below heart disease and cancer. But the new report has exposed the loopholes in the current system that how it underestimates the impact of Alzheimer’s.
The researchers at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago studied 2,566 people aged 65 and older and followed them for an average of eight years. The participants were tested annually for Alzheimer’s-type dementia and their risk of death was also observed in those who did and did not receive a clinical diagnosis of the disease.
CDC says, about 84,000 people died of Alzheimer’s in 2010. But the report has estimated a whopping 503,400 deaths of people in the age group 75 and older.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association report, more than 5 million people in the United States are estimated to have Alzheimer’s. The report estimates the figures to nearly triple by 2050 if there are no significant medical breakthroughs.
The disease cost the nation $210 billion last year and it is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050.
Keith Fargo, Director of Scientific Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association, said, “Scientists told us we need $2 billion a year over the coming 10 years to see significant advancement in treatment and prevention.”
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The study was published on Wednesday in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.