Alzheimer's disease will cost Americans $277 billion in 2018, the second straight year that the figure will exceed a quarter of a trillion dollars, according to the 2018 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report of the Alzheimer's Association.
The cost of Alzheimer's disease will likely further rise over the succeeding years, as scientists race to find a cure for the dreaded illness.
The Cost Of Alzheimer's Disease
The 2018 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report revealed that in 2018, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia will cost Americans a total amount of $277 billion, nearly $20 billion higher compared to 2017. Out of that figure, $140 billion is paid by Medicare, $47 billion is paid by Medicaid, and $60 billion are out-of-pocket costs.
The report also predicts that by 2050, the cost of Alzheimer's disease to Americans will go over $1 trillion.
The costs do not include the unpaid time and effort in caring for the people with Alzheimer's disease. To illustrate, the report noted that in 2017, 16 million Americans provided about 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care. The report valued that time at $232.1 billion.
Alzheimer's disease is considered one of the most expensive illnesses in the country, a fact proven by the figures found in the report from the Alzheimer's Association.
More Americans Getting Alzheimer's Disease
Around 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the report, and 5.5 million of them have ages of 65 years old or higher. The report predicts that by 2025, the number of senior citizens in the United States with Alzheimer's disease will increase by about 29 percent to 7.1 million. Then, by 2050, there will be 13.8 million American senior citizens with the illness.
It should be noted that if Alzheimer's disease is identified early on during the mild cognitive impairment stage, the report claims that it could save the country $7.9 trillion over the lifetimes of the people carrying it.
However, with still no proven cure, the cost and reach of Alzheimer's disease will just continue to increase.
Alzheimer's Disease Cure Research
Scientists have made progress in identifying early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease, with recent studies claiming that losing the sense of smell and sleepiness during the day are possible signals of the onset of the illness. A study also suggested that Alzheimer's disease may be contagious through infected surgical instruments.
However, research for a cure is developing much more slowly. Perhaps the closest that scientists have come to an Alzheimer's disease cure is the discovery early this year that a therapeutic drug created for Type 2 diabetes holds the potential to reverse the effects of the illness.