Alzheimer on the rise as life expectancy increases
With the baby boomers aging, and the emphasis on a healthy living, life expectancy is on the rise. However, with the prolonging of life, Alzheimer is on the rise.
.S. life expectancy hit a record high of 78.1 years in 2006 while Alzheimer's disease crept up a notch to No. 6 on the list of leading causes of death, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.
Rates for 14 of the top 15 causes of death fell in 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report. Influenza and pneumonia deaths had the steepest drop, at 13 percent, compared to the previous year.
The life expectancy at birth of 78.1 years was up from a then-record of 77.8 years in 2005, continuing a rise going back decades, the CDC said.
Life expectancy for women (80.7 years) continued to exceed that for men (75.4 years). Racial disparities persisted as well, with white women's life expectancy at 81 years compared to 76.9 for black women and white men's life expectancy at 76 years compared to 70 for black men.
Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia in the elderly, leapfrogged diabetes to become the sixth-leading cause of death, killing 72,914 Americans in 2006.
The number of people with Alzheimer's is projected to rise steadily in the coming decades as the proportion of elderly people in the U.S. population increases.
The Alzheimer's Association said that up to 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and that by 2010, there will be almost a half million new cases per year. By 2050 it expects nearly 1 million new U.S. cases each year.