Why you should care about Alzheimer’s, and what you should know.
Over the years, medicine has continued to make breakthroughs in improving the quality of life and increasing human life spans, in almost every area. Considering the topic of Alzheimer’s research, however, progress might seem to be somewhat lackadaisical. Since its discovery in 1906, science has yet to uncover the underlying causes or pathology of the disease. Until recently, it has been popular belief that Alzheimer’s is unable to be definitively diagnosed until post-mortem autopsy. On the contrary, research suggests that it is in fact possible for clinicians to diagnose the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) much earlier.
AD is cognitively degenerative disease, and there is no cure that is known. It initially affects the area of the brain that is responsible for short term memory, and will gradually spread to other regions. An individual that has developed Alzheimer’s will progressively decline over an extended period of time, and will ultimately lose the ability to walk or even swallow.
The incidence of Alzheimer’s is relative to the advancement of age, growing as the years progress, and is projected to at least double every 5 years. Our population is growing older for a number of reasons, including the retirement of the Baby-Boomer generation and the fact that people are simply living longer. By 2030, older Americans will make up roughly 20% of the population, and statics project the senior population to continue to rise by 147% by the year 2050.
Increasingly complex and expensive advancements in health care and technology have made this possible, however, longevity comes at a price. About $44,000 dollars per patient, to be specific. Those living in residential facilities face even higher costs. Two thirds of which is paid by federally funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. In 40 years, that number is set to increase to 1.1 trillion dollars. Your tax dollars are and will...