Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who found changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died in 1906. She had experienced memory loss and confusion. Clearly the disease he “discovered” had been present in the human population for thousands of years, but, with a name, scientists began to explore its symptoms more carefully, along with its causes.
The World Health Organization reports that Alzheimer’s represents about two-thirds of dementia worldwide, which totals approximately 55 million people. The WHO also reports that the figure increases by 10 million people a year. It defines the disease as “deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological aging.”
Unfortunately, instances of the disease are expected to rise rapidly with the aging of the world’s population. A new study published in the medicinal journal Lancet forecasts that, globally, dementia will affect 153 million people by 2050. There is no cure or truly effective treatment.
To determine the state where Alzheimer’s disease is increasing the most, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report. States were ranked by the projected increase in the number of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease between 2020 and 2025 in every state. Additional data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. As a larger share of the U.S. population turns 65 and older, the number of Alzheimer’s cases is projected to increase. Many of the states with the largest projected increases are also states with higher percentages of older Americans, though other risk factors like obesity, diabetes and the quality of the health care system in each state also play a part.
Those with Alzheimer’s disease need a great deal of care. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that, in 2021, the cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States was $355 billion. When the unpaid care given by friends and family is factored in, that figure balloons to over $610 billion. It is important for those who want to retire in the near future to save enough money to be able to afford long-term care in the event of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The state where Alzheimer’s is soaring most rapidly is Arizona. Here are the details:
- Projected increase in adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s, 2020-2025: 33.3% (from 150,000 to 200,000)
- Population 65+: 18.0% (1,307,241)
- Population 65+ with Alzheimer’s: 11.5% (15th highest)
- Average annual retirement income: $30,168 (20th highest)