Risk of Death from Degenerative Brain Disease rose 39 Percent within Last Decade, Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease Fell

First Posted: Mar 19, 2013 02:58 PM EDT

Many suffering from or who have watched a loved one going through the stages of Alzheimer's know how heartbreaking and debilitating the disease can be. Unfortunately, new reports show that the risk of dying from Alzheimer's disease have risen signficantely in the United States within the last decade.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the risk of death from the degenerative brain disease rose 39 percent between 2000 and 2010 even as mortality rates and other conditions for health issues including cancer, heart disease and stroke fell significantly, just as scientists and pharmacists grabble with new treatments in an effort to stop progression as patients are robbed of their memories.

Separate findings from the Alzheimer's Association based on CDC data, but looking at actual deaths, also found mortality up 68 percent over the same decade, according to Reuters.

While the risk of death depends on a patient's age, gender, race and even where they live, it is clear that it has been increasing steadily for a long period of time, the CDC said in its report.

Those 85 and older are far more at risk of dying from Alzheimer's than those age 65 to 84, CDC said. Whites and women are also at higher risk, it added.

"Compared with other selected causes, Alzheimer's disease has been on the rise since the last decade," the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics said, adding that "mortality from Alzheimer's disease has steadily increased during the last 30 years."

"The Alzheimer's epidemic is clearly an urgent issue that needs to be addressed," the Alzheimer's Association, which advocates for patients and helps fund research, said in a statement accompanying its annual report.

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