As the U.S. population continues to age, experts say rates of Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition that involves memory loss, will rise as well. Already, researchers say that deaths from Alzheimer’s are increasing.
In the latest report on the subject, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, scientists found that deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 55% from 1999 to 2014. The data was collected from the National Vital Statistics System, which analyzes death certificate information in the U.S. While people with Alzheimer’s may die of other causes, such as respiratory failure or heart disease, these data capture when Alzheimer’s is an underlying cause for those conditions.
The report, which tracked deaths at the county level, found that the regions with the highest deaths from Alzheimer’s were in the southeast, midwest and along the west coast.
The report also found an increase in the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease who are dying at home; it rose from 14% to 25% in the period analyzed in the study, which suggests that more families are caring for loved ones with the disease. As a result, more education and support—in the forms of coverage for providing these services—may be needed in coming years.