The Central for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the number of people with Alzheimer's in the United States will skyrocket to 13.9 million by 2060.
The agency culled data from Medicare Fee-For-Service, taking into consideration certain factors such as sex and race in order to make an estimate. The CDC also took into consideration population projection data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2015 to 2016.
The study was published on Thursday, Sept. 20, in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.
More People Will Be Diagnosed With Alzheimer's
In 2014, 1.6 percent of adults aged 65 years old and above or about 5 million people were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias or ADRD. However, by 2060, the agency expects the cases of ADRD in the United States to double to 3.3 percent or 13.9 million Americans aged 65 years old and above.
The CDC said the study is the first of its kind to look at race and ethnicity in predicting the future in relation to dementia.
Of the 5 million people diagnosed with ADRD in 2014, the highest prevalence was African-Americans who make up 13.8 percent of the cases reported. The lowest prevalence was in Asian and Pacific Islanders at 8.4 percent.
However, because of the projected increase in population, the CDC expects to see more cases of Alzheimer's in the Hispanic community. Right now, white patients have the highest number of diagnosis, but this is expected to plateau by 2030.
One reason for the increase in the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the United States is the progress against other diseases. As more people survive various illness, the risk of getting an ADRD diagnosis also increases.
"It is important for people who think their daily lives are impacted by memory loss to discuss these concerns with a health care provider, " said Kevin Matthews, lead author of the study. "An early assessment and diagnosis is key to planning for their health care needs, including long-term services and supports, as the disease progresses."
Public health officials hope that the study will be used to prepare health care providers to support patients with "culturally competent care."
Early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include seemingly harmless memory loss such as forgetting important dates and asking for the same information over and over again. People who might be diagnosed with dementia in the future will also have issues following plans or guidelines and difficulty concentrating.