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Arizona has second-highest growth rate in US for Alzheimer’s diagnoses

(Kayla Wolf/Missourian via AP)

PHOENIX — Arizona might have a problem with Alzheimer’s Disease by 2030.

The latest report from the Alzheimer’s Association said Arizona has the second-highest growth rate for Alzheimer’s diagnoses in the country.

“There are currently 140,000 people living with the disease in our state,” Katie Skvarce, the communications director for the association’s Desert Southwest chapter, said.

“That number is expected to grow by nearly 43 percent in the next seven years.”

That would put the number of Alzheimer’s cases in Arizona at more than 200,000 people. Alzheimer’s causes problems with memory, spatial tasks and other things.

And the degenerative brain disease takes a big economic toll, too.

“Alzheimer’s Disease is the most expensive disease in America,” Skvarce said. “In 2017, more than 16 million Americans provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care (for Alzheimers patients).

“In Arizona, 330,000 caregivers provided … 376 million hours of unpaid care. That value is about $4.7 billion.”

As for Arizona’s healthcare system, the report estimated that the total Medicaid costs for Americans with dementia age 65 and older was $364 million for 2018, a figure that was expected to increase by 47.6 percent in the next seven years.

The report also said Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast and prostate cancers combined.

Right now, 5.7 million people are living with the disease. By 2050, that number could rise nationwide to almost 14 million people.

(Courtesy photo)

The Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. The first report was issued in 2007.

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