While both cancer and heart disease claim more lives each year, a study by nonprofit RAND Corp. found that Alzheimers and other types of dementia are more costly to families and society in the U.S., racking up $157 billion to $215 billion a year in bills. And the majority of the cost isn’t wrapped up in drugs or medical treatment but rather the day-to-day care that is required to help cognitively impaired people function.
The study also found that about 4.1 million Americans suffer from dementia, a new number that experts now consider to be more reliable than the 5.2 million estimate from the Alzheimers Association, reported the Associated Press.
More numbers from the RAND study:
- Nearly 15 percent of people over 70 have Alzheimers.
- Dementias direct costs topped out at $109 billion for 2010 compared to $102 billion for heart disease and $77 billion for cancer.
- Caregiving costs average between $41,000-$56,000 per year for each dementia case.
“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,” Matthew Baumgart, senior director of public policy at the Alzheimer’s Association, told the AP.
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