Alzheimer's Disease Is The Only Disease With No Treatment
Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in America and the 5th leading cause of death among people 65 years or older.
It's also the only disease in the top ten leading causes of death in America without a cure, a plan for prevention, or a way to slow down it's progression.
There Are Two Forms Of Alzheimer's Disease
The most common form of Alzheimer's Disease is Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease and it effects those 65 years and older, currently 5.2 million people in America are living with this disease.
The second from is called Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease and it effects people between the ages of 30-60, currently 200,000 people live with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease in America.
Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Can Be Genetic
The genetic form of Early On Set Alzheimer's is called Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). It is caused by any one of a number of different single-gene mutations on chromosomes 21, 14, and 1. Each of these mutations causes abnormal proteins to be formed. Mutations on chromosome 21 cause the formation of abnormal amyloid precursor protein (APP). A mutation on chromosome 14 causes abnormal presenilin 1 to be made, and a mutation on chromosome 1 leads to abnormal presenilin 2.
Scientists know that each of these mutations plays a role in the breakdown of APP, a protein whose precise function is not yet known. This breakdown is part of a process that generates harmful forms of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of the disease. A child whose mother or father carries a genetic mutation for FAD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting that mutation. If the mutation is in fact inherited, the child almost surely will develop FAD.
Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Has A Different Set Of Genes Than Early On Set Alzheimer's
Most cases of Alzheimer's are the late-onset form, which develops after age 60. The causes of late-onset Alzheimer's are not yet completely understood, but they likely include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that influence a person's risk for developing the disease.
The single-gene mutations directly responsible for early-onset Alzheimer's disease do not seem to be involved in late-onset Alzheimer's. Researchers have not found a specific gene that causes the late-onset form of the disease. However, one genetic risk factor does appear to increase a person's risk of developing the disease. This increased risk is related to the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene found on chromosome 19. APOE.
You Can Be Tested For Alzhiemer's Even Without Showing Symptoms But It's Not Easy
If you do have a family history of early onset Alzheimer's disease, genetic testing may still not be able to detect the mutation that's causing your family's disease.
Clinical genetic testing is currently only available for one of the three known genes – PS1. Testing for the other two genes is available on a research basis only.
The three genes for which genetic testing is available only account for about half of the families with Alzheimer's – or about five percent of all cases. Therefore, there must be other genes that have not yet been identified.
15 Million People Provide Unpaid Care For Patients With Alzheimer's Disease
More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer's and other dementias.
In 2012, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias to American society will total an estimated $200 billion, including $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.
Average per person Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are nearly 3 times higher than for an older person without these conditions. Medicaid payments are 19 times higher. These costs will only continue to soar in the coming years given the projected rapidly escalating prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease as the baby boomers age.
Unless something is done, the care costs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias will soar from $200 billion this year to a projected $1.1 trillion (in today’s dollars) by 2050. This dramatic rise includes a 500 percent increase in combined Medicare and Medicaid spending.
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