The Country Press Insight: Alzheimer’s Offers Mixed Bag For Future

LAPEER — If you’re a man over the age of 55, the Institute for Dementia Research & Prevention at Louisiana State University predicts you have a one in 10 chance of developing dementia before you die. If you’re a woman the odds worsen to one in six.

But on the bright side, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2016 reported that dementia rates among Americans over the age of 65 dropped by a quarter in the first dozen years of the century.

The JAMA study reported the dementia rate for seniors over 65 fell from 11.6 percent of the population to 8.6 percent. Still, said Dr. Brad Blaker, the Emergency Department Medical Director at McLaren Lapeer Region, about a third of the patients he sees come through the ER door have dementia.

And while all Alzheimer’s patients have dementia, not all dementia patients have Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Brad Blaker Emergency Dept. Medical Director McLaren Lapeer Region

“Dementia is a broad classification of those advanced degenerative changes that happen mentally,” said Blaker, “and then can come from different avenues.” While Alzheimer’s accounts for an estimated 70 percent of dementia patients, there are a number of other causes as well, including Parkinson’s disease, concussion and alcohol abuse.

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