The Alzheimer's Disease Death Rate Has Skyrocketed

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans are dying from Alzheimer's disease at home. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released today, found that death rates from Alzheimer's increased by 55% between the 16-year period of 1999 to 2014.
The data, collected by the National Vital Statistics System, found that even though many people included in the report died of conditions such as respiratory failure or heart disease, the report captures when Alzheimer's was an underlying cause of these deaths.
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The report also found that more people were dying of Alzheimer's at home, as opposed to dying in nursing homes or hospitals.
"Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's disease, especially in the late stages, it's very intense. We believe there is a need for more caregivers and they should be getting more resources for such intense caregiving," Christopher Taylor, author of the report and an epidemiologist with the CDC, told CBS News.
"We've known for some time that the number of Alzheimer's disease deaths have been going up and that can in some way be attributed to the fact that we have a growing number of aging adults in America," he added. "Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease."
According to the CDC, Alzheimer's affected as many as 5 million Americans as of 2013. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's begins with mild memory loss, and can lead to a loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Someone with Alzheimer's may often get lost, misplace things, repeat questions, or display mood changes. Since there aren't any known cures for Alzheimer's, treatment mainly involves making life as comfortable as possible for those who live with it.
Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs at the Alzheimer's Association, echoed Taylor's statement on the fact that the number of Alzheimer's deaths has been increasing for some time. But while the increase isn't surprising, he told CBS, it is "alarming."
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"This is a tidal wave of Alzheimer's disease that is now upon us," he told CBS. "We've been saying baby boomers are getting older and we have to be ready. Now it's here. It's here. And it's not going away unless we do something serious about it. Ultimately we want to eradicate this disease. That is possible."
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