Deaths from Alzheimer’s Drastically Underreported

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On May 18, 2014, Posted by , In Alzheimer's Disease,Caregivers, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Deaths from Alzheimer’s Drastically Underreported

Six times as many Americans dying from Alzheimer’s than previously reported

A new analysis of thousands of death certificates suggests that six times as many people die from Alzheimer’s disease than is currently thought. “We know that five million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease,” says study author Bryan James, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal medicine at the Rush University Medical Center.  “Based on death certificate records, only 84,000 deaths are said to be from Alzheimer’s disease. While this makes Alzheimer’s disease the sixth leading killer in the United States, it probably doesn’t paint a valid picture of the true number of deaths from this disease.” James’ figures suggest that just over 503,000 people die from Alzheimer’s each year. The actual symptoms of the disease—memory loss, mobility issues, problems performing daily  activities—aren’t necessarily lethal in and of themselves, but they can have deadly consequences, such as aspiration pneumonia in a person who can no longer remember how to eat properly. James says this drastic disparity is due to the fact that doctors often list a person’s immediate cause of death (pneumonia, for example) rather than the root cause of the killing condition (loss of functioning due to Alzheimer’s). Such a distinction may not matter much to the deceased individual and their family, but it can have a big impact on funding for Alzheimer’s research and public policy.

Source: agingcare.com

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