Neurological Disease  /  Human Burden

The prevalence of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are skyrocketing as our population ages and they threaten to bankrupt our economy if better treatments and cures aren't found.  5.4 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This number will triple to 16 million by the year 2050. Parkinson’s disease affects 1 million Americans, with at least 60,000 new cases occurring each year.

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    • Close to half (48%) of all Parkinson’s patients report having suffered a fall.  
    • There are 15.4 million caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012.  
    • 26,000 hospice days in 2010 were attributable to Parkinson’s disease.  
    • 24,000 home health days in 2010 were attributable to Parkinson’s disease.  
    • 31,000 emergency department visits in 2010 were attributable to Parkinson’s disease.  
    • 57,000 outpatient visits in 2010 were attributable to Parkinson’s disease.  
    • 1.26 million physician office visits in 2010 were attributable to Parkinson’s disease.  
    • In 2010, Parkinson’s disease was the cause of 1.9 million hospital inpatient days–73% more than is expected for a population without the disease.  
    • Physician visits were nearly triple for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers when compared to non-caregivers (95.5 per month/100 contrasted to 34.3 per month/100).  
    • Emergency room use was twice as high for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers as for similar aged non-caregiving women (2.6 visits per month/100 women contrasted with 5.5 visits per month/100 caregivers).  
    • In 2009, 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s and other dementias also had coronary heart disease, 29 percent also had diabetes, 22 percent also had congestive heart failure,…  
    • Between 2000 and 2008, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease increased 66 percent, while those attributed to the number one cause of death, heart disease, decreased 13 percent.  
    • Based on 2008 final data from the National Center for Health Statistics, Alzheimer’s was reported as the underlying cause of death for 82,435 people.  
    • In 2011, Alzheimer’s caregivers provided an estimated 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at over $210 billion.  
    • People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have greater than 3 times as many hospital stays as other older people.  
    • Studies indicate that people aged ≥65 years survive an average of 4 to 8 years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.  
    • 61% of people with Alzheimer’s disease at age 70 years are expected to die before age 80 years compared with 30% of people at age 70 years without Alzheimer’s disease.  
    • Between 2000 and 2008, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease increased 66%, whereas those attributed to heart disease— the number one cause of death— decreased 13%.  
    • Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged ≥65 years.  
    • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States  
    • Alzheimer’s Disease was the #5 cause of death for those over 65 in 2006 with 177 per 100,000 people.  
    • In 2009, around 11 million Americans provided 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  
    • About 2.4 million Americans age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s disease (47% of the Alzheimer’s population 65 and older). When the first wave of Baby Boomers reaches age 85 (year…  
    • Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have more than 3 times as many hospital stays as other older people.  
    • In 2008, 9.9 million Americans provides unpaid care for a family member, friend, or neighbor with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias–more than 1/4 of all unpaid caregivers of older adults…  
    • Health-related-quality-of-life (HRQOL) is severely affected in Parkinson’s disease. In a study of veterans, HRQOL was more impaired in Parkinson’s disease than in those with any other condition.  
    • Among nursing home residents with Parkinson’s disease, 3-year mortality was 50%.  
    • Patients with Parkinson’s disease have twice the risk of suffering a fracture, and more than 3 times the risk of a hip fracture.  
    • Patients with Parkinson’s disease account for between 2.2% and 6.8% of the nursing home population in the U.S.  
    • Major depression is present in around 20-40% of Parkinson’s disease patients.  
    • More than 3/4 of Parkinson’s disease patients developed dementia during an 8-year study.  
    • Each year, around 68% of Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from falls.  
    • The risk of death in people with Parkinson’s disease is 1.6 times that of the general population.  
    • In the year before a person’s death, half of family caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia reported spending at least 46 hours per week providing care–59% of…  
    • In 2005, the average length of hospice stays for Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease was 99 days.  
    • In 2007, around 10% of all hospice admissions were for people with a primary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.  
    • Severe Alzheimer’s disease can cause problems with mobility, eating and breathing. These complications can significantly increase risk for pneumonia–the most commonly identified cause of death in end-stage Alzheimer’s patients.  
    • Alzheimer’s disease is the 5th leading cause of death in Americans age 65 and older.  
    • Around 14 million baby boomers can expect to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  
    • Alzheimer’s disease was the 7th-leading cause of death for people of all ages and the 5th-leading cause of death for people age 65 and over.  
    • In 2005, Alzheimer’s disease was listed as the underlying cause of death for 71,696 Americans.  
    • The death rate from Alzheimer’s disease for those aged 85 and over increased by 22.6% between 2000 and 2004.  
    • A study of disease severity in 2003 showed that about 60% of assisted living residents with dementia were in the moderate or severe stages of the disease.  
    • 30% of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and over who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias also have coronary heart disease and 28% have congestive heart failure.  
    • At any time, about 25% of older hospital patients are people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  
    • “In 2000, Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and over with Alzheimer’s and other dementias had an average of 1.3 times more physician visits than did other Medicare beneficiaries in the same…  
    • “In 2000, Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and over with Alzheimer’s and other dementias were 3.4 times more likely than other Medicare beneficiaries in the same age group to have a…  
    • In 2007, the 9.8 million family and other unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias provided 8.4 billion hours of care.  
    • 29% of all unpaid caregivers of older people in the U.S. are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.  
    • 9.8 million family members, friends and neighbors provided unpaid care for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia in 2007.  
    • In 2002, community-living older individuals who used paid services used almost double the number of hours monthly (200 hours) compared to those who had no cognitive impairment (108 hours).  
    • Some individuals with Parkinson’s disease talk, walk, or act out dreams and nightmares in their sleep. The may inadvertently injure themselves or their bed partners in the process.  
    • Close to 1/3 of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias now exercise less than before they started caregiving, compared to 1/4 of other caregivers.  
    • Almost 1/4 of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias reported that caring for this individual was stressful, compared to 15% of other caregivers.  
    • In 2003, close to 1 in 4 caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provided 40 hours a week or more of care. 71% provided this care for…  
    • The average progression from mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease is 6 years. At this time, a patient will be in need of care equivalent to placement in a health-related facility,…  
    • Lightheadedness, drooling, and difficulty swallowing can occur because of autonomic nervous system dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease.  
    • Many studies estimate that over 90% of Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from a type of sleep disturbance.  
    • At least 1/3 of patients with Parkinson’s disease develop cognitive impairment, which can be secondary to the disease itself.  
    • Psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety occur in 1/3 to 2/3 of Parkinson’s disease patients.  
    • Most Alzheimer’s caregivers are helping relatives–87%. The most common caregiver relationship is parent-child–57% are helping their mother, 36% are helping their mother-in-law, 11% are helping their father, and 29%…  
    • The majority of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women–59%.  
    • While many family caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients get help from other family members, only around 1/2 use any paid help or supportive services. Only 9% use respite services and…  
    • In 2004, Alzheimer’s moved from the eigth leading cause of death to the seventh–overtaking influenza and pneumonia.  
    • 1/4 of caregivers helping someone age 50 or older, report that the person they are caring for is suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other mental confusion.  
    • Almost 1/2 of all people with Alzheimer’s disease have 4 or more chronic conditions.  
    • Percent of Medicare Beneficiaries Age 65+ with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Who Had Specified Coexisting Medical Conditions (1999)  
    • Among the elderly, hospitalization of a spouse for dementia correlated to an increase risk of death for the partner that was not hospitalized. Among men, 8.6% died within a year…  
    • “8% of working caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia turned down a promotion (4% of other caregivers), and 7% lost job benefits (3% for other caregivers).”  
    • Of caregivers who work, 2/3 who cared for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias reported that they missed work, compared to 57% of other caregivers.  
    • Over 40% of caregivers who care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias report high levels of stress.  
    • In 2003, 65% of Alzheimer caregivers performed personal care that was physically demanding. These tasks can be made difficult by the person with dementia, who may be unable to help…  
    • Almost 10 million (29%) of all caregivers of people age 60 and older are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.  
    • Hospice admissions for Americans with dementia increased from 6.8% of all admissions in 2001 to 9.8% in 2005.  
    • In 2005, 50% of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease who were hospitalized for pneumonia or hip fracture died within 6 months. Patients without cognitive impairment were less likely to die after…  
    • In 2002, about 26% of older community-living adults with severe disabilities (cannot perform 3 or more daily activities) were cognitively impaired.  
    • In 2002, more than 9 out of 10 community-living older individuals with cognitive impairment received daily activity assistance from family, friends or paid workers. Slightly less than 50% of those…  
    • At least 50% of the elderly participants in adult day services have Alzheimer’s or another dementia.  
    • About 47% of nursing home residents have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia in their medical record.””  
    • About 70% of nursing home residents have some cognitive impairment.  
    • 70% of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are cared for by family and friends at home.  
    • 95% of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and over with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have at least one other chronic condition.””  
    • Medicare beneficiaries who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias visited a physician 1.3 times more frequently than other beneficiaries.  
    • Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have 3.4 times more hospital stays than the average for someone who does not have dementia.  
    • Pneumonia and other infections were the most likely cause of hospitalization for nursing home residents who suffer from dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.  
    • 60% of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with dementia also have hypertension. 30% of Americans with dementia have coronary artery disease.  
    • The typical first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss for recent events.  
    • The typical Alzheimer’s caregiver is a woman, 48 years old, married, employed, without children at home, and with at least some college education.  
    • Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can take an enormous toll on the caregiver. 55% of caregivers have less time for other family members. 49% give up…  
    • Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers who also work, report that they missed work due to their caregiving responsibilities. 14% gave up work completely or chose early retirement. 13% cut…  
    • According to preliminary data, Parkinson’s disease was the 14th leading cause of death in the United States in 2004, causing 18,018 deaths.  
    • Based on preliminary data, Alzheimer’s disease was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2004, causing 65,829 deaths.  
    • In 2002, Alzheimer’s disease caused 58,289 deaths in people age 65 and older – 99% of all Alzeimer’s deaths that year.  
    • In 2002, Alzheimer’s disease caused 58,866 deaths.  
    • Community-dwelling elderly with mild dementia received an additional 8.5 hours per week of informal care compared to those with normal cognition. Those with moderate dementia received an additional 17.4 hours…  
    • Willena is 75 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago Her daughter and primary caregiver, Wanda
      “Willena is 75 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago. Her daughter and primary caregiver, Wanda Richardson, believes that her mother went undiagnosed for at least 15 years…  
    • An estimated 33% of Parkinson’s patients suffer from falls; 13% fall more than once a week.  
    • As Parkinson’s progresses, substantial disability–including the inability to maintain balance, walk, speak, and move–makes assisted living and nursing home care necessary.  
    • By the time the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are apparent, as much as 80% of dopamine-producing cells have been damaged.