Death From Alzheimer’s Disease Up 500 Percent Since 1990
Alzheimer’s disease is the fastest growing threat to health in the United States and many other nations, but Americans are still most likely to die from diseases caused by their own habits such as overeating and tobacco, according to a new report on global death and disease.
Groups like the Alzheimer’s Association have been warning that the U.S. will have to cope with a tsunami of Alzheimer’s disease as the population ages. A report last month projected that the number of patients with this untreatable form of dementia will triple in the next 40 years, to 13.8 million in 2050.
The University of Washington team looked at Alzheimer’s trends and found it’s already up 392 percent as a cause of premature death, as measured by years of life lost. As an overall cause of death – how many people die of Alzheimer’s instead of something else – it’s up more than 500 percent. As for causes of disease, they are mostly self-imposed.
“Overall, the three risk factors that account for the most disease burden in the United States are dietary risks, tobacco smoking, and high body-mass index,” reads the report, called the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2010.
Heart disease, lung and throat cancer and stroke cost Americans the most years of life in 2010, the study, led by the university’s Christopher Murray, found. The single biggest risk factor in the U.S. is diet (which contributes to Alzheimer’s in many ways).