Baby Boomers Face Alzheimer's Disease

Armen Hareyan's picture
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By 2050 researchers expect the number of Alzheimer's patients to be about 10 million, and health care system will experience huge difficulties to provide disease sufferers with proper treatment.

According to predictions of Alzheimer's Association, the number of Alzheimer's patients will be accounted 500000 each year by 2010 and 1000000 each year by 2050. Currently there are 5.2 million Americans suffering from the disease. From 200000 to 250000 are under age of 65. 65 is the highest risk age for developing the disease. This means that currently people are developing the disease earlier than previously.

The estimated 10 million patients will have difficulties in terms of disease treatment and caregivers. Overall health care system will not be able to take care of all of these patients by 2050.

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According to the study, most of the disease sufferers (1 out of 10) will be baby boomers. Currently there are no medications for Alzheimer's treatment, and the patients will face difficulties. Not only patients, but also their families will seriously suffer from the disease. There are about 10 million caregivers for patients and most of them are family member. About 250000 of them are children aged from 8 to 18. Family caregivers are supposed to be spouses, but there are also children and grandchildren involved.

Thus, Alzheimer's disease affects a very wide range of people of various ages. Even those, much under age of 65 are being affected by the disease. If the predictions for the coming years come true, there will be not enough professional caregivers to take care of patients. Current rates of students studying for medical caregiver profession for those with dementias will not be able to provide with the number of nurses needed.

Alzheimer's disease will also cause huge medical spending. Medicare is now covering most of disease sufferers. This means that by 2050 health insurance will face serious problems. Now health insurance spends 3 times as much on dementia patients, compared to people with other average diseases. In 2005 Medicare spent $91 billion on patients with dementia, by 2010 it is expected to be $160 billion, and by 2050 $189 billion.

The figures show urgency in developing medicine and other treatment for dementia sufferers to ease patients' symptoms, improve their health, and save money. However, researchers and lab tests for the medicine will cost even more than Medicare spending. Besides, funds presently allocated for researchers are too small to have significant results. Government is now spending $640 million annually on researches. It is not that much compared to $5 billion spent on cancer $3 billion on heart disease.

Alzheimer's disease is now registered as the seventh deadly disease. The disease will be more easy and effective to treat if diagnosed early. Researchers give hope of developing dementia medications within the coming 5 years. Some experts give hope that the study predictions will not become true, because the generation of baby boomers is more educated, more inclined to healthy lifestyle, and exercising. They have more chances to delay dementia development and start experiencing Alzheimer's symptoms by the natural end of lifespan.

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