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Alzheimer’s Disease: 10 Things You May Not Know

By HERWriter
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Alzheimer's Disease related image Divakaran Dileep/PhotoSpin

Currently, it is estimated that 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. This includes about 200,000 people under the age of 65 who have developed early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Many are in their 40s and 50s and some were caregivers for someone else when they developed Alzheimer’s.

Read on to learn nine more things you probably didn’t know about Alzheimer’s disease.

1) By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease is estimated to triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, unless medical breakthroughs prevent, slow or stop the disease.1

2) Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One in three seniors die who have Alzheimer's or another dementia. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from 4-20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.1

3) In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias. If this care had been paid for, it would have exceeded $220 billion, which is nearly eight times the total revenue McDonald's made in 2012.1

4) Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women. By the time a woman reaches 60, her estimated lifetime risk for developing Alzheimer's is 1 in 6. For breast cancer it is 1 in 11.1

5) Women make up the majority of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. More than three in five unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers are women. Nearly 19 percent of female Alzheimer's caregivers had to quit work either to become a caregiver or because their caregiving duties became too demanding.1

6) One-third of Americans over age 85 are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and the majority are Hispanic or African Americans.3

7) Studies have found that activities to boost brain stimulation such as puzzles and cards increase brain volume and preserve cognitive function. Moderate exercise during middle age has also been found to reduce the risk of dementia.2

8) Researchers have identified certain genes that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. APOE-e4 is the strongest risk gene for Alzheimer's. However genetic testing for APOE-e4 is controversial and should only be undertaken after discussion with a physician or genetic counselor.4

9) Having trouble with memory does not mean you have Alzheimer's. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, only evaluation by a neurologist experienced with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s will be able to tell you or your loved one if that is what is wrong.

A careful medical evaluation will include: A thorough medical history, mental status testing, a physical and neurological exam and tests (such as blood tests and brain imaging) to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms.4


Alzheimer’s Association .

Alzheimers.gov .

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America .


1) Alzheimer's Facts and Figures. Alzheimer Association. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2014.

2) Potential Alzheimer's disease risk factor and risk reduction strategies become clearer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 9, 2014.

3) 2014 Alzheimer’s Statistics. Alzheimers.net. Retrieved November 9, 2014.

4) Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. Alzheimer Association. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2014.

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/499625/michele_blacksberg.html

Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Read Dr. Perlmutter's book, Grain Brain. It explains in detail with studies and testimonials to back his claims that grains cause inflammation in our bodies and our brain causing Alzheimer's and many other autoimmune diseases. The majority of the health issues we face can be reversed and avoided by changing our diets to a clean eating, organic, Paleo lifestyle. It's as easy as that. What you put in your mouth matters to your health outcome. I'd rather pay now at the grocery store than pay later in health care and risk my health.

February 25, 2015 - 12:18pm

This is a really good summary that highlights the significance of the disease. When you realize that there are approximately 1,300 new cases per day (1 every 68 sec) in the USA alone, you can't ignore the magnitude. I'm just still amazed that our government doesn't seem to be taking this epidemic seriously.

November 12, 2014 - 12:01pm
EmpowHER Guest

The real shame is that UCLA and researchers in Europe revealed that much of Alzheimer's disease can be reversed without any medications yet people are still not aware.

Target dieting changes the brain, this information is still not reaching people as they slowly watch the illness take more of their loved ones.

Much of the illness can be reversed with target dieting for the brain


November 11, 2014 - 12:53pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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