There are more people with Alzheimer’s disease living in the eastern and southeastern parts of the U.S., a study published Monday in The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association found.
The first-of-its-kind study used demographic data from a population-based Chicago Health and Aging Project combined with 2020 population estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics to determine how likely Americans over 65 were to have Alzheimer’s disease by county. The demographic risk factors within a person’s respective county included age, sex, race/ethnicity and education.
It concluded states with more people older than 85, more women and more minorities — specifically Black people — had a higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.
By state, the highest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s/dementia among those 65 and older were in Maryland at 12.9%, New York at 12.7%, Mississippi and Florida with 12.5%, and California and Illinois with 12%. Maryland has a greater number of people over 85 and a higher proportion of Black Americans.
The highest number of cases by state are those in California, Florida and Texas, primarily driven by the number of 65 and older residents in the states.
By county, the study found Florida’s Miami-Dade County, Maryland’s Baltimore City and New York’s Bronx County had the highest Alzheimer’s prevalence rates, each with 16.6% of residents above 65 having the disease.
By demographic, the study found women had a 1.13 times higher risk for Alzheimer’s/dementia than men. Black people had a 2.5 times higher risk than White people, and Hispanic people had a 1.73 higher risk than White people. More years of schooling was also associated with lower odds of getting the disease, and older age was associated with higher likelihood of having the disease.
Researchers hope these county and state estimates could help public health officials create region-specific strategies and budget plans to better care for people with the disease.
There are an estimated 6.7 million Americans above 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2022, the financial cost of caring for people with the disease is estimated to be $321 billion, or around $50,000 per person.
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