Study: Rates of Alzheimer’s disease dropping in US

Alzheimer’s disease rates are dropping in the U.S. and several other countries, as new preventive treatments appear to be taking effect. This is good news for Americans and the economy, as the number of citizens approaching retirement is expected to expand health care costs and have an impact on senior health insurance. According to the Administration on Aging, there will be 72.1 million Americans over the age of 65 by 2030, more than double the number in 2000. As a result of a large aging population, the number of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to rise.

The federally funded Framingham study revealed that those older than 60 today have a 44 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to 30 years ago. Other rich countries such as Germany have seen similar trends, while undeveloped countries are seeing a rise in the number of dementia patients.

Researchers noted that improved education and control of cholesterol and blood pressure have helped reduce the number of dementia patients in the U.S. The drop in cases will likely lower ballooning health care costs in the future for dementia-related treatments. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and it affects more than 5 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Studies pinpoint preventive measures
Researchers have also found more ways to prevent the disease, according to NBC News. One study conducted in Finland showed that there are a few things seniors should do for memory care to combat the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Instead of pointing to one habit that people can do to improve their memory, the researchers said that reducing the risk for dementia includes a “cocktail” of exercise, eating healthy and working out the mind. This combination is a winning formula for staying sharp throughout life.

Many of these preventive measures are common sense, but the range of what can deter Alzheimer’s disease varies between studies. Some research shows that eating healthy and exercising are the best routes to take, while others say that seniors who are more socially active and engaged are less likely to have memory loss. Another says mental games and puzzles are the key. However, combining all these practices may be the best method.

Preventable cases
New studies have shown that as many as one in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease may be preventable, according to the Science World Report. Some of the highest risk factors have been linked to preventable causes, such as smoking, inactivity and depression. A lack of education in these areas has had an impact on the number of dementia cases, as well.

This means that seniors simply need to follow healthy guidelines for diet and exercise and take preventive measures for their health, like having regular checkups and not smoking. Fortunately, many preventive health measures are free for seniors once they reach Medicare eligibility, including an annual wellness visit that can help them develop a lifestyle for optimal health.

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