Alzheimer’s is a devastating medical condition that has not gotten the attention that it deserves. For patients and their family’s it completely changes their lives and every area of their day-to- routines. According to an Alzheimer’s Association report, every 66 seconds, there is another person that’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the United States. According to research, the condition is going to become even more prevalent. By 2050, it’s estimated that the number of diagnoses every year is going to double.
One of a unique factors of Alzheimer’s disease is that the number of cases is still growing. Because of scientific research and all the advancements in medicine, the vast majority of other diseases has started to decrease. We discovered how to prevent and treat thousands of health complications, which means we can drastically reduce the number of patients affected, but that’s not the case with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s has started putting a serious strain on Medicare. The main problem is that there is no prevention or cure for the condition, and there is very little that we can do. Because there is no way to treat the condition, but we are living a lot longer, mental conditions are starting to drain the Medicare pool. In fact, $1 out of every $5 that is spent on Medicare coverage goes towards Alzheimer’s patients. If you consider the idea that the condition is going to continue to be more widespread, then it’s expected that the amount of money that Alzheimer’s is going to take an even heavier toll on the health insurance program.
The annual cost of Alzheimer’s care is around $259 billion every year. As you can imagine, that bill is putting a severe strain, and most experts believe that it’s going to drain Medicare. If the trend continues, it’s going to cause the government program to go bankrupt.
When you look at Alzheimer’s on a more personal level, the numbers don’t get any more optimistic. According to a survey completed by the Annals of Internal Medicine, for anyone that cares for a patient with Alzheimer’s, they are going to spend over $280,000 in the last five years of their life.
There is some hopeful research being conducted that could change the way that we look at Alzheimer’s and might provide a possible treatment in the future. Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, who is a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School has been making several significant discoveries in the field. Dr. Tanzi assisted in discovering some of the known Alzheimer’s genes that form amyloid plaques in your brain. That plaque is considered to be one of the causes of the medical condition.
After the discovery, there have been several groups that have developed medications that target the plague, in hopes that it could reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or complete cure the problem. Unfortunately, the drugs start targeting the plaque way too late, after it’s already done the damage. While this sounds like sad news, it’s exciting that we’ve found new avenues that could lead to even more discoveries and possible treatments. Sure, this might not be the answer that we’re looking for, but hopefully, it will be the springboard that we need to finally reach our goal of treating and preventing the mental health problem.
Roadblocks to More Research
With all of the recent breakthroughs in just about every area of health and medicine, a lot of seniors are wondering why the same advancements haven’t been made in Alzheimer’s as well. There are dozens of different theories and ideas, and Dr. Bruce Miller, the director of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, had some extreme views on Alzheimer’s research. “This is the underfunded and understudied problem of the 21st century. We’ve made a lot of progress in therapies around heart disease, cancer, and stroke, and we need to move faster in Alzheimer’s research. If we can’t find better therapies for an aging brain, as a society, we will dramatically suffer.”
As more and more information is released about the cost of the condition and the severity of it, there are hopes that more organizations and groups will start funding research. It’s important that we talk about the disease and the impact that it has on millions and millions of Americans every year. For anyone that has been affected by Alzheimer’s you know the devastating effects that it can have, but there is still a significant portion of the country that doesn’t understand the disease. This is something that has to change if we want to make a change.
If you have any questions about Medicare coverage for Alzheimer’s care or treatment, please contact us today. We would be happy to answer those questions and ensure that you’re getting the medical coverage that you and your family need.
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