Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes memory loss and cognitive decline. Some organizations estimate that over 6 million people in the United States currently live with the condition. Some health experts project that occurrences of Alzheimer’s disease will nearly triple to affect 14 million people by 2060.
Healthcare professionals use dementia as a general term to describe an impaired ability to:
- make decisions
According to the
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that approximately 6.7 million people who are 65 years old or over are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S.
This article explores the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, if it is becoming more common, warning signs of the condition, and when to speak with a doctor.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
According to the World Health Organization, over
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that approximately 6.7 million people live with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S., and around 73% of these individuals are at least 75 years of age.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia conditions disproportionately affect older Black and Hispanic Americans in comparison with older white Americans. Older Hispanic Americans are about 1.5 times as likely to develop these conditions in comparison with older white Americans. Additionally, older Black Americans are around two times as likely compared with older white Americans.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease in African American people.
If a person has Alzheimer’s disease before they are 65 years old, a healthcare professional would describe their condition as early onset.
A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 scientific papers aimed to work out the prevalence of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The review concluded that around
Almost two-thirds of the people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease are female. This means that there are roughly 4 million females over 65 years old in the country with the condition.
Research from the Alzheimer’s Association suggests the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is increasing in the U.S.
Between the years 2000 and 2019, the reported deaths from the condition
This increase may be because the size of the U.S. population of people who are 65 years old and over continues to grow. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will continue to grow.
The CDC estimates that by 2060, there will be approximately
Alzheimer’s disease causes a slow decline in:
- reasoning skills
In addition to memory loss, other common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- difficulty completing familiar tasks
- noticeable changes in:
- difficulty handling money or paying bills
- issues with judgment
- misplacing items and being unable to retrace steps to find them
Even if a person has several signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it does not always mean they have it. This is why a person who has experienced these signs should speak with a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
If a person is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, they should speak with a doctor. This is because early diagnosis can be very helpful and may provide someone with a better likelihood of benefiting from treatment.
Current medications cannot cure this condition. However, two medications, aducanumab and lecanemab, may help reduce cognitive and functional decline in people with early Alzheimer’s disease. Other medications may help improve someone’s symptoms for a limited amount of time.
Other treatments to help with early Alzheimer’s disease may include lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking and managing blood pressure. Additionally, some may choose to take part in clinical trials for new treatments.
It is also important that a person with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms speaks with a doctor because this can help rule out other possible causes of these symptoms. Some conditions that share similar symptoms with the condition include:
- Huntington’s disease: This is a progressive brain disorder that may cause a person to develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease, including:
- a decline in thinking and reasoning skills
- memory problems
- judgment issues
- mood changes
- Brain tumors: This may cause a person to experience
some symptoms that are similar to Alzheimer’s disease. These include memory problems and changes in behavior.
- Frontotemporal disorders (FTD): These occur
as the resultof damage to neurons in the brain. FTD may cause similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease, including changes in behavior and memory problems.
Experts estimate that over 6 million people in the U.S. currently live with Alzheimer’s disease. Around 73% of these individuals are 75 years old or over. Almost two-thirds of the people in the U.S. with the disease are female, while older Black and Hispanic Americans are disproportionately affected.
The Alzheimer’s Association and the CDC also suggest that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is
Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may include memory loss and difficulty completing familiar tasks. A person with the condition may also display noticeable changes in their mood, personality, and behavior.
People should speak with a healthcare professional if they are experiencing any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.