According to the Alzheimer Association AA, the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth in the country in people over 65.
Study reveals that Alzheimer's affects more women in the United States. / Photo: Pexels
The Woman Post | María Lourdes Zimmermann @marlouzim
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Leer en español: El Alzheimer no tiene reversa y las mujeres son las más afectadas
Moving to tears, the film Still Alice portrays the impotence of a disease that has no reversal such as Alzheimer's. It draws attention to the phenomenon that will affect more than 135 million people worldwide in the year 2050 and is currently making ill 5.8 million Americans.
Alice Howland is a brilliant Harvard professor of cognitive psychology and renowned linguist who never paid attention to her recurring lapses of mind, signs of premature Alzheimer's, a type of atypical dementia in a 50-year-old woman. The film that gave the actress Julianne Moore the Oscar in 2014 is an x-ray of the situation that thousands of North American victims of one of the greatest epidemics of the 21st century are experiencing today.
The latest Facts and Figures 2020 report confirms this. Prepared by the Alzheimer Association AA, the study concluded that the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth in the country in people over 65 years of age.
In the United States, of the 5.8 million people suffering from the disease, 3.6 million are women. They are the most affected by this type of dementia for causes that are still investigated and that according to some studies suggest a connection with pregnancy, female hormones, the age of menarche and menopause, the number of spontaneous abortions and even the advantages Innate cognitive abilities of a woman. However, all of the above is still under investigation.
The report, considered by the AA as the most complete compilation of national statistics and information on the disease collected in the United States, analyzes mortality, the costs of care and the impact of the disease on its caregivers, among other relevant aspects that allow the decision making against the phenomenon.
One of the most shocking figures presented in the report is the 146% increase in Alzheimer's death rates since 2000, while deaths from other major diseases remained stable or decreased.
Research indicates that one in three elderly people dies from Alzheimer's or another type of dementia, noting that the disease causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined.
One of the many relevant aspects of the research is the numbers of those who assume the role of caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. This is how 16 million Americans exercise this relevant role that is mainly carried out by women. Approximately two thirds are women, and one third of dementia caregivers are the daughters of the sick, a role delegated by their parents. Generally when a mother suffers from the disease, the father delegates her care to the daughters according to research.
Regarding the economic expense of caring for people with Alzheimer's, the Facts and Figures 2020 report points out that, for the fourth consecutive year, this is exceeding a quarter of a billion dollars and the volume of this item is expected to increase by 23, 3% in the next 5 years due to the increase in the disease in the United States.
"The medical profession is not prepared to cope with the growth of cases," furthermore, the report analyzes the willingness of primary care physicians and the medical profession to meet the growing demands for dementia care and surveillance in America. " Exactly half of primary care physicians believe that the profession is not ready to serve the growing number of people with Alzheimer's or other dementias".
82% of GPs say they are on the front line of dementia care. However, nearly 2 in 5 (39%) maintain that they "never" or just "sometimes feel comfortable" making a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or other dementias. 22% of physicians have no residency experience in diagnosing and caring for dementia.
Alzheimer's is a progressive mental deterioration of the brain that destroys memory and thinking skills, preventing people from leading a normal life by doing their simplest tasks. Studies suggest that the disease is caused by an accumulation in the brain of beta amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that function as brain debris without eliminating, causing irreversible damage to death.