Dementia diagnosis down, Alzheimer's still up

By: Amy Lipman Email
By: Amy Lipman Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. A new study found the diagnosis rate of dementia is down, but it doesn't mean we're in the clear when it comes to people suffering from Alzheimer's.

The study presented at an international Alzheimer's conference in Denmark said Americans over 60 have a 44% lower chance of being diagnosed with dementia now compared to 30 years ago.

Teresa Black, the Western Slope regional director for the Alzheimer's Association, said dementia is an umbrella term that used to be given to people instead of a more specific diagnosis like Alzheimer's.

"They're specifying whether it's vascular dementia, alcohol dementia, Alzheimer's disease," said Black in reference to today's doctors.

The number of people with Alzheimer's in Colorado is expected to increase 40% by 2025 with the aging baby boomer generation.

"This silver tsunami of people turning 65 right now, that is a big part of it," Black said. "As it goes forward we're starting to see the long-term effects of some of the bad health choices people were making."

The rate of Alzheimer's diagnosis could drop off in the future as a result of the healthier lifestyle and higher education level of younger people today, factors that help prevent Alzheimer's.

"It takes longer for the disease to actually break down that robust healthy brain," Black said.

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