Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. While dementia is more common as people grow older, it is not a normal part of aging.
Alzheimer's disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.
The estimated number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has risen to 5.7 million, from 5.5 million in 2017, according to a report released today by the Alzheimer’s Association.
That's an increase of roughly 3.6% and largely reflects the aging of the boomer generation.
By 2025, the 2018 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report projects, 7.1 million Americans aged 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s, and by 2050, some 13.8 million.
Dementia from causes other than Alzheimer’s make up anywhere from 15 to 40% of cases. These include strokes (vascular dementia), Lewy bodies (abnormal clumps of protein in the brain), frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Parkinson’s disease. Complicating the picture, many people have dementia from both Alzheimer’s and other causes, especially vascular.