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As baby boomers continue to age, early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s provides a number of important benefits to patients, their caregivers and loved ones, as well as society as a whole.

A special report on the Alzheimer’s Association website says the development of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease makes it possible to detect Alzheimer’s disease and provide an accurate diagnosis earlier than at any other time in history.

In addition to providing significant medical, emotional and social benefits and facilitating participation in important clinical trials, early diagnosis enables people to prepare legal, financial and end-of-life wishes while they are still cognitively able to make decisions.

Early diagnosis, even without biomarker evidence for a specific underlying cause, will also yield significant cost savings in medical and long-term care for both the U.S. government and diagnosed individuals. Among all Americans alive today, if those who will get Alzheimer’s disease were diagnosed in the mild cognitive impairments stage before dementia, it would collectively save $7 trillion to $7.9 trillion in health and long-term care costs.

More interesting facts and figures about Alzheimer’s:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from heart disease have decreased 11 percent, while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 123 percent.
  • One in three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or another dementia, more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are expected to cost the nation $277 billion by 2050. These costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.
  • 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.
  • Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.

The third 2018 Medicare 101 Boot Camp will be Sat, Nov. 3 at CSI from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will focus on all elements of “Turning 65.” Pre-registration is not required for this free event. Call 208-423-9036 with questions.

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Day Egusquiza is the president and founder of the Patient Financial Navigator Foundation Inc. — an Idaho-based family foundation.

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