According to a study in the journal Neurology, there were an estimated 503,400 deaths in Americans aged 75 years and older attributable to Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 compared with less than 84,000 reported on death certificates for that year. Experts say Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are under-reported on death certificates and medical records. They often list pneumonia rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause.
Data came from two studies involving 2,566 persons aged 65 years and older (mean 78.1 years). Bryan James Ph. D., a researcher at Rush University Medical Center, examined cadaver brains of individuals who had the disease. This new study at Rush University Medical Center indicates that Alzheimer’s disease may be one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Dr. James says an estimated 5 million people age 65 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. There are approximately 200,000 individuals younger than 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Over an average of 8 years, 559 participants (21.8%) without dementia at baseline developed AD dementia and 1,090 (42.4%) died. Median time from diagnosis to death was 3.8 years. The mortality rate was 4.30 for ages 75ÛÒ84 years and 2.77 for ages 85 years and older. The odds of being at risk for the disease jump dramatically – 37.0% for ages 75ÛÒ84 and 35.8% for ages 85 and older. That is of course concerning. There is no cure but perhaps if we live a more healthy lifestyle we can keep it at bay.