What is Alzheimer’s?

As we discussed in yesterday’s post on aging, our society is rapidly growing older.  And while we discussed some of the issues related to Aging in that post, another issue that can associate with advancing age is the development of Alzheimer’s disease.   Alzheimer’s disease is one of several brain disorders under the broad category of dementia. It is a gradually debilitating illness with no known cure.  As the disease progresses, the brain begins to deteriorate more rapidly, until it literally stops functioning.  It’s a terrifying disease.

How does it affect society?

Alzheimer’s is a disease that hangs ominously over our ever-aging population.  Studies show that the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s approximately doubles every five years after the age of 65.  As things currently stand, a person who lives to be 85 has an approximately 50/50 chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

Why is it a wicked problem?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is the only disease among the top ten causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed”. People are living longer across the globe and with that, the population at risk for Alzheimer’s is growing. The economic cost of caregiving and managing Alzheimer’s is overwhelming. Total payments in 2016 (in 2016 dollars) for all individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are estimated at $236 billion.

Let’s keep the conversation going!

While Alzheimer’s drug research has not yet unleashed a breakthrough, there are many unique avenues that may prove to be viable opportunities. Fortunately, the medical and scientific communities have engaged in extensive research over the last 30 years and promising new developments are being announced regularly.  10.10.10 feels that recent strides towards understanding this harrowing affliction, uncovering its causes and new progress towards treatment options have for the first time created a moment where we can take real action against Alzheimer’s. Join us at 10.10.10 to find solutions that will help millions.  Share your thoughts, comments, articles and solutions with #endalzheimers #101010health.

Huntington Potter, Ph.D., Director of Alzheimer’s Disease Programs, CU Anshutz, advocates for the wicked problem of Alzheimer’s Disease in front of the CEOs and audience at The Big Reveal event June 20, 2016 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. (Jacqueline Endsley Photography)