Dementia: A Silent Crisis That May Bankrupt America

We all hope never to endure having our minds slowly diminished and devoured by dementia, but the odds of that are worse than you might know. In fact, there’s about a 40% chance that your brain will self-destruct while you’re in your 80s. Your chances of developing dementia increase steadily every year.

Almost 13% of those aged 65 and older already have Alzheimer’s disease, which is only one of many forms of dementia. As the Baby Boomers age, the number will increase astronomically.

This coming, unprecedented surge threatens to overwhelm individuals, families, medical systems and budgets. Years ago, we undertook a massive research campaign for HIV/AIDS, successfully developing treatment and prevention strategies. If we are to avert the looming catastrophe posed by dementia, we must increase research funding for it in the same way.

At the peak of the AIDS epidemic, 600,000 to 900,000 Americans had the disease. Now, more than 5.4 million Americans are known to be living with Alzheimer’s. Many more dementia sufferers go undiagnosed, and Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in our country.

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