News Local/State

Rate And Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease Expected To Grow

Alzheimer's first-class postage stamp.

An Alzheimer's first-class postage stamp released last November by the U.S. Postal Service. US Postal Service/ via AP

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in Illinois.  But the number of cases is likely to jump even more in the next few years. 

Experts say the expected increase of nearly 20 percent by 2025 is due to more awareness of Alzheimer’s, better diagnosis of the disease, and because as humans, we’re living longer.

With no way to prevent, cure, or even slow progression, Alzheimer’s is straining health care programs.  

Mike Bius, with the Alzheimer’s Association, says it’s resulted in about 187 billion dollars in costs across the country.

“It has a tremendous emotional toll and a familial toll, but also an economic toll as well”, said Bius. “By 2050, instead of $187 billion, we could be looking at over a trillion dollars of cost for this disease.”

Bius says that the suffering Alzheimer’s causes to families is more serious than the cost.

“The human toll is just incredible”, said Bius. “The average person with Alzheimer’s from diagnosis until the end is 8-10 years and of that, as much of a third of that time, is when the person is bedridden and requires constant care. It’s just a horrible disease.”

The new data about Alzheimer’s disease is summarized in the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual “Azheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” summary, released by the Alzheimer’s Association earlier this month.