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US sees rise in numbers of people dying from Alzheimer’s disease

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen by more than 50% in a 15-year period and are expected to increase further, a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have been increasing for decades, the CDC says, but points out that some of the sharp rise seen in the latest figures may be accounted for by increased reporting and patients more likely to seek help.

Between 1999 and 2014, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased by 54.5% (16.5 deaths per 100,000 up to 25.4 deaths per 100,000).

The increase is a reflection of the growth in the number of adults over age 65, the CDC says.

It puts Alzheimer’s disease as the sixth leading cause of death accounting for 3.6% of all deaths in 2014.

The report also finds that the proportion of people with Alzheimer’s disease dying at home increased to almost a quarter by 2014 from 13.9% in 1999 as correspondingly the number of patients dying in hospitals or nursing homes fell.

Currently, there are 5.5 million adults with Alzheimer’s in the United States but this is expected to rise to 13.8 million adults over age 65 by the year 2050.

The CDC recommends that given the increasing number of patients with Alzheimer’s dying at home, there is a potentially growing need for interventions such as education, respite care, and home health assistance to reduce the burden on carers and improve care for patients.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202871

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