Alzheimer's Diagnoses Rise 300%
Early-Onset Alzheimer's Has Greatest Increase
• The number of individuals developing Alzheimer's disease has recently tripled among those age 30 to 64.
• The number of individuals developing early-onset Alzheimer's disease has also doubled, with women being at significantly hire risk than men.
A recent report by Blue Cross Blue Shield(BCBS), one of the largest healthcare insurers in America, showed a frightening increase in both Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
The report, published at the end of February 2020, compares the number of individuals diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease from 2013 to 2017. The report examined occurrences of the disease in three age brackets: 30 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55 to 64. All three brackets fall into the category of early-onset dementia; defined as a dementia in an individual under the age of 65.
BCBS researchers found that rates of the disease increased 373% in the 30 to 44 bracket, 311% in the 45 to 54 bracket, and 143% in the 55 to 64 bracket.
Although researchers didn’t elaborate on what could have caused these startling increases, they did announce several linked medical issues. One of which was the fact that “57% of individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease filled an antidepressant medication the year prior.”
It’s important not to draw conclusions from this observation as this data does not necessarily mean that there is a link between antidepressant medications and Alzheimer’s disease. Rather, perhaps there is an underlying condition which predisposes individuals to both depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
While these increased diagnosis rates are both startling and frightening, they do not necessarily mean that rates of Alzheimer’s disease are increasing. One plausible explanation is that as more physicians become more aware of this disease and its symptoms, they are now diagnosing patients, whom in the past would have gone undiagnosed.
What this report does mean is that Alzheimer’s disease, and early-onset dementia, is a much bigger problem than previously realized. Individuals, especially those with a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, should implement lifestyle changes to minimize disease risk immediately.
If this report shows one thing, it’s unfortunately that Alzheimer’s disease can strike at any adult age and waiting until later in life to begin taking it seriously is a dangerous game.
For Information on Alzheimer's Prevention, see our Alzheimer's Prevention Strategies Page.