By Adam Pressler
Newly released data shows the diagnosis of the brain altering disease is expected to rise 29 percent by the year 2025 in the United States.
"We have approximately 23,000 clients living in this corner, in this 29 county corner of the state," said Rob Hulstra, who works with the Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter in Springfield.
The Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report found shows a continued increase in individuals being diagnosed with brain altering disease. Hulstra says it can be scary, but the new numbers can be explained by science.
"I think the diagnosis of the illness is becoming more precise," he said. Hulstra added, "I think there is an upswing of people developing the illness and we aren't just talking about people in their 60's, we are talking about people in their late 30's to their late 50's as well."
Early detection and improved methods for diagnosing are two of the reasons why many believe Alzheimer's is being discovered earlier and more often in individuals. The 2018 data also mean more money is being spent on treatment and special care for family members.
"Its projected that over the period of a life time, when a person is diagnosed with their illness it can be cost more than $450 thousand. We are talking about a life expectancy that could range anywhere from 2 years to 20 years," Hulstra said.
But the new data is not all bad. An increase in diagnoses means more research and a chance at a cure.
"On the research side there is a tremendous amount of work being done and we look forward to that day when we find the first person who has been cured," Hulstra said.
The United States currently spend $277 billion on Alzheimer's. That number is expected to exceed $1.1 trillion by the year 2050.