Alzheimer's disease approaching status of health crisis, researchers say

September is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

By Erica Hernandez - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - Right now in the United States, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, that number is expected to grow to 14 million by the year 2050.

Those statistics are a major concern for the medical community. 

Even now, those numbers are already growing. In fact, every 65 seconds, someone in the nation develops the disease.

Economic Health Crisis

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and there is no cure for it.

Besides the growing number of patients, the costs of treating Alzheimer's will also go up.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia cost the nation $277 billion this year. By 2050, those costs could increase by as much at $1.1 trillion. 

 

Latinos and Alzheimer's

Of any of other demographic, the Latino community will see the most growth in development of Alzheimer's disease.

According to usagainstalzheimers.com, the projected number of Latinos with Alzheimer's could increase from 379,000 in 2012 to 3.5 million by 2060, a growth of 832 percent.

The main concern with those numbers is the lack of research done within the Hispanic community. 

A trend in research presented by usagainstalzheimers.com suggests that symptoms of Alzheimer's appear almost seven years earlier in Latinos than among other demographics. 

Glenn Biggs Institute

UT Health San Antonio opened the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Some of the main research taking place at the institute is geared toward the Hispanic community. 

"(Among) the people of South Texas, the Hispanic population has not be studied in regards to their risk factors, and what's special about them when they get dementia," Dr. Sudha Seshadri, Glenn Biggs Institute founding director, said.

Currently the Biggs Institute is looking at Alzheimer's at every state of its progression.

There is research being doing on early development, and a brain donation program helps them examine the disease after a person dies as well. 

Help is also being provided to caregivers at the institute. 

"For every one person diagnosed, three family members are affected," Seshadri said. 

New research shows there is an estimated 1.8 million Latino family caregivers in 2018. 

Despite the devastating outlook for Alzheimer's right now, Seshadri does believe we are closer to finding a cure.
 

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