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22 March 2018, 01:18 | Franklin Nunez
Spotting Alzheimer's Early Could Save America $7.9 Trillion
In the second year, the total payments for the care of Alzheimer's patients will reach to the quarter of a trillion dollars that includes a total increase of $20 billion from last year. "Because of this, we continue to see the growing financial, physical and emotional toll Alzheimer's has and will continue to have on our nation, our state and our families", said Doug Bickford, Alzheimer's Association Greater Iowa Chapter executive director.
By 2025 - just seven years from now - the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's dementia is estimated to reach 7.1 million - an increase of nearly 29 percent from the 5.5 million age 65 and older affected in 2018. Treatment of dementias and Alzheimer's disease costs the healthcare system $277 billion this year, the report finds.
Alzheimer's affects one in 10 Americans over the age of 65 and one in three over 85 - more than five million people.
In 2017, more than 16 million Americans provided about 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care to Alzheimer's patients, worth $232 billion. Besides this, around 5.5 million American who were aged around 65 years are diagnosed with the disease and there are 200,000 people who are less 65 years of age.
They noted that 41 percent of the care givers to Alzheimer's disease patients had an income of $50,000 a year or less but ended up spending $10,697 from their own pockets compared to $5,758 spent by care givers to other diseases.
As the number of older Americans grows rapidly, so too will the numbers of new and existing cases of Alzheimer's.
Every 65 seconds, someone in the USA develops Alzheimer's dementia.
Scientists are studing the role of beta-amyloid as a primary culprit in Alzheimer's that gums up the brain, disrupting communication between brain neurons and leading to memory loss.
Along with the increasing costs, the report also found Alzheimer's to be increasingly lethal.
According to the Alzheimer's Research UK, dementia has higher health and social care costs (£11.9bn) than cancer (£5bn) and chronic heart disease (£2.5bn) combined.
The new treatments work by reducing the levels of toxic protein in the brain - a hallmark of the disease.
"Less oxidation could prevent misfolding to a certain degree, perhaps even to the point that it slows the aggregation of beta-amyloid peptides, which is believed to be the ultimate cause of Alzheimer's".
Early diagnosis of cognitive impairment provides a number of important benefits to diagnosed individuals, their caregivers and loved ones, as well as society as a whole.
The charity is making eight recommendations for the taskforce to take forward as initial actions, including: considering innovative funding models to help cover the cost of future treatments; piloting specialist Brain Health Clinics; and working on improving understanding of what measures reflect the true value of Alzheimer's treatments.
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