CDC: Alzheimer's disease deaths spikes in 15-year period - Tucson News Now

CDC: Alzheimer's disease deaths spikes in 15-year period

(Source: Alzheimer's Association Desert Southwest Chapter) (Source: Alzheimer's Association Desert Southwest Chapter)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Death rates associated with Alzheimer's disease have increased almost 55 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control. 

The report states there were 44,536 deaths related to the disease in 1999. In 2014, there were 93,541 deaths from Alzheimer's disease. 

In Arizona, there has been a 138 percent increase in deaths associated with the disease in the last 17 years, according to the Alzheimer's Association. 

Currently, there are 130,000 people in the state living with the disease. By 2025, that number is expected to rise to 200,000. 

"In Arizona, it's the fifth leading cause of death," said Morgen Hartford, the regional director of the desert southwest chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Hartford said there are two factors playing a part in the increase. 

"People are living longer, and as we live longer, the risks for developing the disease increase. In addition to that, we're seeing that people are now dying as a result of the disease in numbers greater than we've seen before, and part of this is because we're getting better at making a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease," Hartford said. 

David Eisenhuth's mother Olga, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease close to 17 years ago. 

"One of my neighbors called me and said, 'Hey David, something's not right with your mom.' We hadn't noticed anything. We found that she was starting to mail stuff to herself so that was the first kicker," he said. 

Eisenhuth took care of her for years, until she was moved into a facility. 

"You learn that you have to say goodbye while they're still alive," he said. 

She passed away from complications from the disease in 2016, after a 15-year battle. 

"Unlike some people with Alzheimer's that get it and it's a very quick decline, her's was what my doctor called the long goodbye," Eisenhuth said. 

With climbing numbers, and no known cure Hartford and Eisenhuth say now is the time for change. They said it's important to increase awareness and fund more research to find a cure. 

"This type of disease needs to be attacked, hard," Eisenhuth said.

You can find more information about the Alzheimer's Association here: https://www.alz.org

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Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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