Damn! That answer was right there on the tip of my tongue… ah, there it is again – it’s old age! More precisely it’s the number of people who have attained old age. There are a LOT more elderly people living today than there were 40 years ago. 14% of our population – about 44.7 million people – are folks that are 65 years of age or older and therefore it makes perfect sense that you will have a higher incidence of disease that affects old people.
So the uptick in Alzheimer’s disease is actually statistical. Because it’s a disease that occurs mostly in older people, with our increase in our longevity you end up with a larger aging population and hence, more cases of disease.
Older people about one in seven – have a natural loss of memory termed dementia – the name for the set of symptoms caused from Alzheimer’s as well as from other factors. About 67%- 70% percent of dementia cases are Alzheimer’s related. The remaining ones can be caused by factors such as Parkinson’s disease or the presence of proteins which damage neural tissue called Lewy Bodies which contribute as well.
Just as Baby Boomers are children from families created after the end of World War II and the Korean War (the generation born from 1946 to 1964) – so too are there other population booms that occur periodically. When Baby Boomers became old enough to start their own families, their expanded numbers had children and created another population boom. We call that group Generation Y (born after 1980) also the “Echo Baby Boom”.
It is estimated that by the year 2060, there will be 98 million people in the United States who are age 65 or older, roughly twice the number of us that age today. About 1 in 9 people over 65 has Alzheimer’s. Once attaining the age of 85, that number changes until about one in three suffer from it. Under the age of 65 less than 4% of the population suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Today about 20% of Medicare spending goes to roughly five million people with Alzheimer’s. By the year 2040 it is estimated that as much as 25% of all Medicare spending will go to pay for care for as many as 28 million Baby Boomers expected to suffer from Alzheimer’s by then.
Now flash forward when the echo Baby Boomers age – without a cure, the problem becomes almost twice as big. Eventually the strain becomes so great and the system is put at risk.
So you can see that your question is very relevant now, and even more relevant in the future if we are to preserve our standard of care for all people and the ability for Medicare to survive.
Decade after decade, as each larger and larger birth group ages, there will be a corresponding increase in any affliction that strikes the elderly – arthritis – respiratory diseases including pneumonia- heart disease- cancer- type II diabetes –osteoporosis – and injuries from falls.
Let’s hope that cures are forthcoming and that many of these conditions or diseases can be controlled and eliminated. Cures will save our economy billions of dollars over time and shore up the system for the aged in the future.
So what are your thoughts about why we have had an uptick in the numbers of cases of those with Alzheimer’s disease?
Originally posted 2015-09-10 05:51:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter