Just this past week I had the amazing opportunity of participating in a webinar with a group of bloggers and a scientist from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. I walked away feeling informed and even empowered.
Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S? It is also the only one of the top 10 causes of death that cannot currently be prevented, treated or cured. When I first was invited to this webinar I was really interested. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s. We were lucky in that his never progressed very badly. But at the end he would mix up our names and would remind my grandmother of the same thing about 20 times.
I had no idea that this disease was the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. That statistic is staggering. We often associate Alzehimer’s with forgetting names and where they live but for so many people this disease extends into forgetting basic functions like how to eat and even how to swallow. It is devastating.
I learned some incredible facts about Alzheimer’s. Did you know:
- 5.4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s, and someone is diagnosed every 6.9 seconds
- African Americans are twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer’s
- The number of Hispanics with Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the United States could increase more than six-fold by 2050, to as many as 1.3 million cases from fewer than 200,000 today
- In 2012, the direct costs of caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias are expected to be $200 billion, including $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid
- One in 10 adults is responsible for providing or arranging care for a relative or friend with the disease
- One in eight Americans over age 65—and nearly one in two Americans over age 85—is currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s, which involves about 3 percent of all Alzheimer’s diagnoses, is identified by symptoms that begin before age 65
- Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age
The best thing I learned is that even though there is not currently a cure or even any treatment for Alzheimer’s there are still things we can do to.
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry is a new initiative that consists of an online community of people who want to make an impact on their future. Those who join will get the latest research news, can advocate for a greater national focus on the disease or take part in Alzheimer’s prevention studies now or in the future. The Registry was created by researchers from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), who lead the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API).
Right now the goal of the registry is to have 100,000 signups by June of 2013. They currently have about 5,000. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to sign up. If does not matter if you have any preexisting conditions. The goal of this registry is to educate and hopefully in the future find treatment options or even a cure for Alzheimer’s.