230,000 Illinois adults battling the disease
Loss. Forgetting names. Personality change. These are among the most common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, the most common and common form of dementia.
Saturday is World Alzheimer's Day. And approximately 5.8 million people live with the disease in the United States alone, according to the Alzheimer's Association's annual report for 2019. This is a 10% increase from the figure released a decade ago.
The majority of those affected – 5.6 million – are 65 years of age or older. In six years, this number is expected to reach 7.1 million. It can reach nearly 14 million in three decades, the association said.
In Illinois, approximately 230,000 residents aged 65 and over have Alzheimer's disease, according to the report. In 2025, they are expected to reach 260,000, an increase of 1
As Baby Boomers continue to age, the number of Americans dying with Alzheimer's has also escalated. The annual mortality rate for 2017 of 100,000 Americans who are 85 years of age or older is almost double that of 2000.
People are so scared of Alzheimer's dementia because it's "100% fatal illness, "according to Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and penetration at the Alzheimer's Association.
"Nobody survives Alzheimer's today," Fargo says.
That's why patients and their loved ones usually have a hard time accepting the disease, Fargo said.
Kate Royals of Jackson, Mississippi, said she initially struggled to accept her father's diagnosis when he was in his early 70s. Tom Royals is the first in his family to get a college degree and build a successful career as a lawyer. It seems impossible for someone so brilliant to succumb to such a fate, she said.
"He's one of the smartest people I've ever known," his daughter said. "He built his whole life out of his brain power, but suddenly he made his brain turn against him. It was really hard to watch. "
The family initially denied the early symptoms, dismissing them as a typical age-old forgetfulness. Eventually, the characters progressed to the point of being hard to ignore.
"I remember my mother needed to diagnose it," said Kate Royals. "But he will not go to be evaluated in the first days."
This is common in people who develop the disease, Fargo says. They do not want to believe they have it, he said, and are afraid of the stigma attached to it.
"The fear is that people will view them as less than a whole human being if they have Alzheimer's disease.
The Alzheimer's disease test usually involves multiple cognitive tests and questionnaires, as well as brain scans and blood tests. tests to rule out other causes. Unlike other diseases, it cannot be definitively diagnosed until death when researchers can examine the brain.
Post-mortem studies reveal important brain changes in Alzheimer's patients, including reduced mass and lumps – or plaques – of proteins responsible for the neuron
Genetic mutations are linked to a small group of Alzheimer's patients, while other causes they are still a mystery, the researchers say.
Approximately 85% of dementia patients are diagnosed first not by a specialist but by a primary care doctor, said Julie Zissimopoulos, director of the Aging and Cognition Program at the University of Southern California Leonard D. Schaefer Center for Health Policy and Economics .
Zisimopoulos, who co-authored a recent report on the subject, said the results suggested that Americans rethink the role of primary care physician.
"The critical role of a specialist is to be able to accurately diagnose this type of dementia," she said. "And non-specialists are the ones who regularly see people for their health. We need to think about whether our non-specialists have the tools they need to diagnose and care for this large and growing group of patients. "
Burden of Care
Tom Misiania, a former AT&T manager from Manasas, Virginia, lost his job and couldn't complete day-to-day tasks like paying bills before being diagnosed with Alz. in 2012, he was only 57. For a long time, his wife said, she thought it was a midlife crisis and her husband had lost interest in their marriage and their home.
"It was only after (the diagnosis) that we realized that he was no longer able to do these things," says Peggy Misian. "It was a real relief for me at the beginning. At least I knew it had nothing to do with our relationship… and he was something he had no control over. It was a nasty disease that had taken hold of him. "
She said she tried to keep Tom" very, very, very busy "by doing many outdoor activities such as attending cafes, listening to live music and going to square dances. Her only job right now is to "just take care of him" at home.
Peggy Misian is not alone.
In 2018, more than 16 million family members provided about 18.5 billion hours of unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The group estimated the value of care provided at $ 233.9 billion – or 10 times the global total of McDonald's worldwide in 2017.
According to the report, there are 588,000 caregivers in Illinois providing 670 million hours of unpaid care worth nearly $ 8,471,
Others may choose nursing homes or memory centers.
Lance Chapman, assistant executive director of Godard House, assisted living facility in Brooklyn, Massachusetts, said he has noticed a recent increase in memory – loss patients moving into their 75 traditional seniors' apartments.
He attributes this to the long waiting list for their 44 memory loss apartments, whose length has doubled since 2017, Chapman said.
Such lists will continue to grow unless the scientific community makes a major breakthrough in the early detection and prevention of the disease, experts said.
Fargo, of the Alzheimer's Association, noted that large investments in biomical studies have led to a significant reduction in cancer mortality, heart disease, and HIV. He said that such an investment should be made in Alzheimer's research.
"When that happens," says Fargo, "we will see results in reducing the number of people dying of Alzheimer's."