Dementia Costs More to Treat than Cancer and Heart Disease

While cancer and heart disease have been known to be the bigger killers, a new study showed that Alzheimer’s disease has now become known as the most expensive malady in the U.S., costing families and society up to $215 billion a year. The biggest cost of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is just the care that is needed to get those with the disease through life. The study showed that around 4.1 million Americans are estimated to suffer from dementia.

“…Dementia is among the most costly diseases to society, and we need to address this if we’re going to come to terms with the cost to the Medicare and Medicaid system,” said Matthew Baumgart, Senior Director of Public Policy at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dementia’s direct costs, from medicines to nursing homes, were $109 billion a year in 2010, the new RAND report found. “The informal care costs are substantially higher for dementia than for cancer or heart conditions,” said Michael Hurd, a RAND economist who led the study. “Alzheimer’s disease has a burden that exceeds many of these other illnesses,” especially because of the duration at which people live with it and need care, says Dr. Richard Hodes, Director of the Institute on Aging.

The best hope to change this apparent future is to find a way to intervene and prevent Alzheimer’s or change its course once it develops as was stated by Dr. Richard Hodes.





Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee /




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