An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and the disease could hit one in every eight baby boomers, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association.
Alzheimer's is reported to have already diagnosed 411,000 new cases in 2000 and the number will increase to 454,000 a year by 2010. By 2050, nearly 1 million will be diagnosed with the disease each year.
In addition, the report, released Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association, showed that the disease is now the seventh deadliest in the nation and that women are at greater risk than men. The report noted that 14 percent of all people age 71 and over have dementia and this includes 16 percent of women and 11 percent of men in that age group.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. The starts out with mild memory loss and confusion but escalates into complete memory loss and an inability to care for oneself. There is no cure and the handful of drugs that can treat Alzheimer's only slow its progression for a short time.
The prediction for 10 million, which is 1 out of every 8 boomers, is a number that is particularly significant because it's people who are now just approaching what we refer to as the age of highest risk, said Stephen McConnell, the association's vice president for advocacy and public policy.
The age of highest risk for Alzheimer's starts at 65, McConnell said.
Some of these people are already developing the disease, and those numbers are just going to increase dramatically over the next several decades, he added.