Navigation Links
Alzheimer's 'Epidemic' Hitting Minorities Hardest

Blacks, Hispanics at much higher risk for the illness, which carries huge price tag, report finds,,

TUESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and blacks and Hispanics are at highest risk of developing the disease, a new report finds.

The report, 2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, from the Alzheimer's Association, finds that black Americans are about two times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than whites, and Hispanics face about 1.5 times the risk.

"Alzheimer's is continuing to be on the rise," said Maria Carrillo, the association's senior director of medical and scientific relations. "So many people are affected by it across the country, but we are rallying to highlight the disparities that exist in populations," she said.

Much of the increase in Alzheimer's is because of increasing high blood pressure and diabetes, which increase the odds of developing Alzheimer's in all populations.

"African-Americans and Hispanics are particularly vulnerable, because the proportion of these two risk factors is higher even still," Carrillo said. "We can actually do something about this increased risk with better management of the conditions."

This year, 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer's will be diagnosed, with a greater number of new cases expected in the years to come, the report found. By 2050, the report estimates that almost a million new cases of Alzheimer's will be diagnosed annually.

In 2006, Alzheimer's was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death among those 65 and older.

From 2000 to 2006, death rates declined for most major diseases, including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, stroke and HIV/AIDS. However, deaths from Alzheimer's rose more than 46 percent during that time period, according to the report.

Not only are there more cases of Alzheimer's, but more families are shouldering the burden of the disease, Carrillo said. This is particularly true for minority families who may have less access to outside care.

"There are 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer's," noted Robert J. Egge, vice president of public policy and advocacy. "And for each of those people there are many others whose lives are consumed with caring for those Alzheimer's patients," he said.

That totals some 11 million Americans, Egge said.

In 2009, these unpaid caregivers provided 12.5 billion hours of care "valued at $144 billion, more than the federal government spends on Medicare and Medicaid combined for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias," according to the report.

Part of the problem is that Alzheimer's isn't recognized until it is in a late stage, Egge said. "So there isn't adequate care planning and other kind of support structures, especially in communities with socioeconomic disadvantages," he said.

Another reason behind Alzheimer's grim rise is that people are living longer -- escaping illnesses such as heart disease and cancer that might have killed them before Alzheimer's arose.

"We are managing many diseases that do allow us to live longer," Carrillo said. "With age being the greatest risk factor, we are just skewing our population towards the Alzheimer's arena."

Another expert agreed.

"We have some pretty effective solutions for a lifetime of cardiovascular disease risk, but your bypass and stent may just give you time to dement," said Greg M. Cole, a neuroscientist at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System and associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

Often, it all adds up to many years of needed care. And since it often takes a long time to die from Alzheimer's, "you may have lost touch with your loved ones for 10 years, sometimes even 20," Carrillo said.

Research dollars remain key to turning the numbers around, she said. "We really need to focus on Alzheimer's," she said. "We need more of an investment in Alzheimer's disease."

The report found that payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer's will total $172 billion this year.

In addition, Medicare costs for Alzheimer's patients are almost three times higher than for other older people, and Medicaid costs are almost nine times higher, the report found.

Many people with Alzheimer's also have one or more other medical conditions, such as diabetes or coronary heart disease, making their care even more expensive.

Yet far less is spent on Alzheimer's research than on other diseases.

In fact, "for every $25,000 the government spends on care for people with Alzheimer's and dementia, it spends only $100 for Alzheimer research," the report said.

According to Cole, "this new report details how the long predicted 'epidemic' rise in Alzheimer's disease and other dementia is already upon us."

The report also sounds the alarm that the situation may get worse before it gets better.

"We hope to have better treatments, but cures are unlikely," Cole said. "The only cost-effective answer we can realistically try to achieve is an effective prevention program," he said.

More information

There's more on Alzheimer's disease at the Alzheimer's Association.

SOURCES: Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., senior director, medical and scientific relations; Robert J. Egge, vice president, public policy and advocacy, both of the Alzheimer's Association; Greg M. Cole, Ph.D., neuroscientist, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, and associate director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles; March 9, 2010, Alzheimer's Association report, 2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Alzheimers Research Target May Be a Dead End
2. The Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative Introduces - a News hub for Tracking Dengue Fever Epidemics Worldwide
3. Thyroid Disease: The Hidden Epidemic
4. NIH and D.C. Department of Health team up to combat Districts HIV/AIDS epidemic
5. Black Community Unites Against HIV/AIDS Epidemic
6. Latest epidemic? High cholesterol, obesity in fruit flies
7. Lethality of H1N1 Virus Drops to "Non-Epidemic Resting Levels" in Current Cycle; Virus' Infectivity Remains Increased
8. Amid the flu epidemic, dont forget RSV in young children
9. Amid the Flu Epidemic, Dont Forget RSV in Young Children
10. Should noninvasive ventilation be considered a high-risk procedure during an epidemic?
11. MRSA Activists Declare MRSA an Epidemic on World MRSA Day
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 2015 , ... According to an article published on November 16th ... the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, claiming that any states which do ... the clause in the law prohibiting the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. The ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Dr. Paul Vitenas, one of the top cosmetic surgeons in Texas ... Best Single Physician Practice in the nation. Dr. Vitenas and his practice were named ... industry publication. , Dr. Vitenas said he was very honored to receive such ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... have seen vast improvements in scientific research and discoveries, leading us to better ... hope and relief to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Mediaplanet’s cross-platform edition of “World ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... the United States. Podiatrists are well aware that psychology-based patient non-compliance (disobedience of ... often catastrophic contributors to diseases of the diabetic foot. The American Board ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... Visage accelerates mobile imaging results access ... of Pro Medicus Ltd. (ASX: PME), has announced they are demonstrating new work-in-progress ... (RSNA) 2015 annual meeting through December 3 in Chicago, Illinois, at Booth #1350, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Va. , Dec. 1, 2015  AccuTEC ... unveiled a new corporate logo and brand identity ... the design and engineering of bladed products where ... --> --> Serving manufacturers ... glass, and auto glass equipment, AccuTEC,s product lines ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. , Dec. 1, 2015 ... the fight against HIV/AIDS, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: ... partnerships through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to significantly ... adolescent girls, who make up 74 percent of ... 1 . Announced on World AIDS Day, these ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... New York , December 1, 2015 ... Contraceptive Pills, Contraceptive Injectables, Topical Contraceptives, Male ... Implants, Contraceptive Vaginal Rings, Contraceptive Diaphragms, Contraceptive ... Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and ... released by Transparency Market Research (TMR).The report ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: