When amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles interfere with the brains activity, dementia forms. According to Health Communities, there are more than two million people that suffer from severe dementia in the United States. Not surprisingly, most of these people are over the age of 65.
You probably know someone that suffers from this condition, or you may be afraid that you may one day deal with the horrifying symptoms that accompany this disease. However, good news comes by way of a new study. Over the past decade, the dementia rates have dropped significantly. The information brings hope to those who fear the diagnosis.
Why Are Dementia Cases Decreasing When Projections Show Them Increasing?
Every 66 seconds in this country, another person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. While these rates sound high, the fact is that they are less than they were 10 years ago. The study was conducted by the College of Medicine in New York City. They examined 1,400 people over the age of 70 years. Staggering results lead them to the conclusion that dementia cases are decreasing. They started with 74 cases from those born before 1920 and the number dropped down to three for those born after 1929. Why the drastic change?
The researchers aren’t really clear on how or why this is happening. However, they did find some things that stood out amongst the group. For instance, while diabetes has been on the increase, the rates of both heart attacks and strokes have declined. All the years of cardiovascular disease prevention may be paying off. Could all the public announcements and doctors pushing for better cardio care be making a difference in dementia? Are people finally getting how important heart health really is to their overall well-being?
Could Improved Cardiovascular Health Cause The Decrease?
While increasing awareness about cardio benefits is important, it cannot account for the entire decline in dementia. Statistics from this case show that the rate of dementia has declined, but the population of baby boomers is expected to make the numbers increase. Will there be a shift in the changes of the rate of onset? It remains to be seen. Researchers state that they expect the number of dementia patients to double every couple decades. By the year 2050, they expect this condition to affect 115 million people.
Those who have Alzheimer’s disease is projected to rise to 106 million people by the year 2050. The study brings false hopes that the problem is going away. While there has been a decrease in the rates, it’s still a real threat to the elderly population. The biggest problems with dementia are that it’s marked by memory difficulties and changes in a personality. On a large scale, it’s still one of the costliest chronic conditions to maintain. The cost of care has an enormous impact on both the patient and their family.
Nothing Can Replace A Healthy Lifestyle From Infant to Adult!
Can a healthy lifestyle prevent dementia in the first place? Another study found that those who exercised, ate right, and gave up cigarettes, could keep many diseases at bay. Not only does a proper diet help to keep away diabetes and heart problems, but it also can reduce the risk of developing a stroke. The risk declined up to 35 percent. The key is brain health throughout your entire life, and not just towards the end when it seems to matter most.
Another Study Gives The Same Results
Another study, which was published in JAMA Neurology, on September 5th, states that 1,400 patients were evaluated in an aging study. The study was conducted between 1993-2015. Participants were over the age of 70, and these individuals didn’t have any dementia symptoms. Included were 369 people that were born before the year 1920. 73 people in that age group developed dementia during the study.
However, it was interesting to note that the number drastically decreased in those that were born between the years of 1920-1924. In this age group, only 43 people developed dementia. In the panel of people born between 1925-1929, only 31 people developed dementia. Lastly, of the 350-people born after 1929, only three of them were diagnosed with dementia. This study shows that there is a drastic decrease.
There’s Hope For Older Americans
It doesn’t really matter what experts predict if the studies are showing something entirely different. It seems that there is irrefutable proof that the decline in dementia is present. Could it be because of healthy eating, more exercise, and an advanced awareness of cardiovascular benefits? The real reasons may never be known. There are plenty of theories, but the truth may be hard to decipher. The good news is that the risk of developing this brain altering condition is decreasing, and that’s a reason to smile!