Over the past 15 years, Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths have increased 55 percent. There are nearly 5.5 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, two diseases that rob patients of their memory and independence. Alzheimer’s disease is expected to affect 13.8 million by the year 2050.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that although hospital deaths have decreased, at-home deaths have risen. Between 1999 and 2014, Alzheimer’s killed 25.4 people per 100,000—as mentioned, a 55 percent increase.
The CDC report suggested, “Until Alzheimer’s can be prevented, slowed, or stopped, caregiving for persons with advanced Alzheimer’s will remain a demanding task. An increasing number of Alzheimer’s deaths coupled with an increasing number of patients dying at home suggests that there is an increasing number of caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s.”
There are currently only four drugs approved to treat Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are many newer drugs still in their trial phase that are showing promise.
Alzheimer’s disease isn’t just difficult for the patient, but for the patient’s family and caregivers as well. As the disease progresses, the patient becomes more forgetful and their ability to perform tasks for themselves greatly diminishes, creating a stressful situation for all involved.
As of yet, there isn’t a way to completely prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but some suggestions include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your mind as active as possible.
Spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
As mentioned, Alzheimer’s disease can’t be stopped altogether, but spotting symptoms early on can help you get appropriate treatment to slow down progression. Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Difficulty remembering things
- Mood or personality changes
- Trouble completing ordinary tasks
- Difficulty expressing thoughts
- Impaired judgement
- Unusual behavior
If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you should speak to your doctor. Even if it begins as mild cognitive impairment, it can very well progress into Alzheimer’s disease. So, early detection is the key.