Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

(BrightFocus Foundation) Every 67 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease will be diagnosed this year. Get the facts about Alzheimer’s disease—the most common form of dementia.

Quick Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.

  • Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible degeneration of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, personality, and other functions that eventually lead to death from complete brain failure.

Alzheimer’s is a growing epidemic.

  • More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, nearly 14 million (13.8 million) Americans over age 65 could be living with the disease, unless scientists develop new approaches to prevent or cure it.1

Each day, thousands of American families are forever changed by this disease.

  • Every 67 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. By mid-century, someone in America will develop the disease every 33 seconds.2 It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease will be diagnosed this year.3

Alzheimer’s is on the rise throughout the world.

  • Worldwide, 46.8 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.4 By 2030, if breakthroughs are not discovered, we will see an increase to nearly 74.7 million.5  By 2050, rates could exceed 131.5 million.
  • Every 3.2 seconds, a new case of dementia occurs somewhere in the world.6

The overall economic impact is staggering.

  • If dementia care were a country’s economy, it would be the world’s 18th largest, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia. If it were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue, exceeding Walmart (US$414 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 billion).7

Alzheimer’s is projected to cripple America’s healthcare system.

  • Total payments for health care, long-term care, and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are projected to increase from $200 billion in 2012 to $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2012 dollars). This dramatic rise includes a six-fold increase in government spending under Medicare and Medicaid and a five-fold increase in out-of-pocket spending.8

People who have Alzheimer’s disease need others to care for them, and many of those providing care are not paid for their time and services.

  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Unpaid caregivers are usually immediate family members or other relatives and friends.9 In 2011, these people provided an estimated 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at more than $210 billion.10, 11

Unpaid caregivers need help.

  • Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is often extremely difficult, and many family and other unpaid caregivers experience high levels of emotional stress and depression as a result.12
  • Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease has been found to have a negative impact on the health, employment, income, and financial security of many caregivers.13

Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death that is still on the rise.

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States. For those 65 and older, it is the fifth-leading cause of death.
  • Between 2000 and 2008, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease increased 66%, while those attributed to the number one cause of death-heart disease-decreased 13%. This increase reflects changes in patterns of reporting deaths on death certificates over time as well as an increase in the actual number of deaths attributable to Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the only major cause of death that significantly increased from 2009 to 2010, while other major causes of death declined.14

The United States Government is not spending enough to respond to this growing epidemic.

  • National Institutes of Health funding for HIV/AIDS research is 23 times the level of that for Alzheimer’s disease research.
  • Cancer research is 12 times the level spent for Alzheimer’s disease research. Yet, there are 5 times as many Americans with Alzheimer’s than with HIV, and more people die each year in the United States from Alzheimer’s disease than from the two most commonly diagnosed types of cancer (breast and prostate) combined.15

Sources

1 Hebert LE, Weuve J, Scherr PA, Evans DA. Alzheimer’s disease in the United States (2010-2050) estimated using the 2010 Census. Neurology. Available at www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/02/06/WNL.0b013e31828726f5.abstract. Published online before print, Feb. 6, 2013.

2 Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2015;11(3)332+

3 Hirtz D, Thurman DJ,Gwinn‐Hardy K, Mohamed M, Chaudhuri AR, Zalutsky R.How common are the “common” neurologic disorders?Neurology 2007;68:326‐37.

4-6 World Alzheimer Report 2015 the Global Impact Of Dementia An Analysis Of Prevalence, Incidence, Cost and Trends, p.7 http://www.alz.co.uk/research/WorldAlzheimerReport2015.pdf, and World Alzheimer Report 2015 the Global Impact Of Dementia An Analysis Of Prevalence, Incidence, Cost and Trends Summary Sheet, p.1 http://www.alz.co.uk/research/WorldAlzheimerReport2015-sheet.pdf

7 Alzheimer’sDisease International World Alzheimer Report 2010: The Global Economic Impact of Dementia: Executive Summary,” Prof Anders Wimo, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden Prof Martin Prince, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London,UK. Published by Alzheimer’sDisease International (ADI) 21 September 2010

8 Alzheimer’s Association. Lewin Model on Alzheimer’s and dementia costs: These numbers come from a model created for the Alzheimer’s Association by The Lewin Group and updated in January 2015. The model estimates total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias based on cost data from the 2008 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. A comprehensive report on the model, Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, was published by the Alzheimer’s Association in February 2015. The report and additional information on the model, its long-term projections and its methodology are available at: http://www.alztrajectory

9 15 Million Americans: Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2015; 11(3)332+. http://www.alz.org/ri/documents/facts2015_report.pdf Accessed April 13, 2015. Reference A15: To calculate this number, the Alzheimer’s Association started with data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). In 2009, the BRFSS survey asked respondents age 18 and over whether they had provided any regular care or assistance during the past month to a family member or friend who had a health problem, long-term illness or disability. To determine the number of family and other unpaid caregivers nationally and by state, we applied the proportion of caregivers nationally and for each state from the 2009 BRFSS (as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Aging Program, unpublished data) to the number of people age 18 and older nationally and in each state from the U.S. Census Bureau report for July 2014. Available at: www.census. gov/popest/data/datasets.html. Accessed on Jan. 3, 2015. To calculate the proportion of family and other unpaid caregivers who provide care for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association used data from the results of a national telephone survey conducted in 2009 for the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC)/ AARP.428 The NAC/AARP survey asked respondents age 18 and over whether they were providing unpaid care for a relative or friend age 18 or older or had provided such care during the past 12 months. Respondents who answered affirmatively were then asked about the health problems of the person for whom they provided care. In response, 26 percent of caregivers said that: (1) Alzheimer’s or another dementia was the main problem of the person for whom they provided care, or (2) the person had Alzheimer’s or other mental confusion in addition to his or her main problem. The 26 percent figure was applied to the total number of caregivers nationally and in each state, resulting in a total of 15,705,824 Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers.

10. Number of hours of unpaid care: Alzheimer’s Association. To calculate this number, the Alzheimer’s Association used data from a follow-up analysis of results from the 2009 NAC/AARP national telephone survey (data provided under contract by Matthew Greenwald and Associates, Nov. 11, 2009). These data show that caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias provided an average of 21.9 hours a week of care, or 1,139 hours per year. The number of family and other unpaid caregivers (15,705,824) A15 was multiplied by the average hours of care per year, which totals 17.886 billion hours of care.

11 Value of unpaid caregiving: Alzheimer’s Association. To calculate this number, the Alzheimer’s Association used the method of Amo et al.(reference 429: Amo PS, Levine C, Memmott MM. The economic value of informal caregiving. Health Aff 1999;18;182-8). This method uses the average of the federal minimum hourly wage ($7.25 in 2014) and the mean hourly wage of home health aides ($17.09 in July 2014).430 The average is $12.17, which was multiplied by the number of hours of unpaid care (17.886 billion) to derive the total value of unpaid care ($217.67 billion).

12 MetLife. The MetLife Study of Alzheimer’s Disease: The Caregiving Experience https://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/mmi-alzheimers-disease-caregiving-experience-study.pdf

13 National Institute on Aging. “About Alzheimer’s Disease: Caregiving.” http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/caregiving

14 Data in this section are from the following original source publications:
Miniño, A; Xu, J; Kochanek, KD. “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008.”National Vital Statistics Reports. Hyattsville, Md.; National Center for Health Statistics; 2010. Available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_02.pdf.
Ives, DG; Samuel, P; Psaty, BM; Kuller, LH. “Agreement between nosologist and Cardiovascular Health Study review of deaths: Implications of coding differences.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2009; 57(1):133–139.
Macera, CA; Sun, RK; Yeager, KK; Brandes, DA. “Sensitivity and specificity of death certificate diagnoses for dementing illnesses, 1988–1990.”Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1992; 40(5):479–481.
Olichney, JM; Hofstetter, CR; Galasko, D; Thal, LJ; Katzman, R. “Death certificate reporting of dementia and mortality in an Alzheimer’s disease research center cohort.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1995; 43(8):890–893.
Wachterman, M; Kiely, DK; Mitchell, SL. “Reporting dementia on the death certificates of nursing home residents dying with end‐stage dementia.” Journal o the American Medical Association 2008; 300(22):2608–2610.
Sherry L. Murphy, B.S., Jiaquan Xu, M.D., and KennethD. Kochanek, M.A., “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010,” (2012) National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 60, Number 4 (January 11, 2012), Table B, p. 32

15 From Todd E Golde, Bruce T Lamb, and Douglas Galasko, “Rightsizing funding for Alzheimer’s disease” (2011) Alzheimer’s Res. Ther. Vol. 3: pp. 17 (Original publication: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3226306/)
NIH. Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC) http://report.nih.gov/rcdc/categories/Alzheimer’s Association. World Alzheimer Report 2010. http://www.alz.org/documents/national/World_Alzheimer_Report_2010_Summary (1).pdf

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