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Rate of Dementia Deaths in U.S. Has More Than Doubled Since 2000, CDC Says

National Statistics Report Factors In Race, Ethnicity for the First Time

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics has found that the rate of deaths linked to dementia has more than doubled over the past two decades.

Based on nationwide death certificate data, the disease was found as the primary cause of 261,914 deaths in 2017, up from 84,000 deaths in 2000. 

“Overall, age-adjusted death rates for dementia increased from 30.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 66.7 in 2017,” researchers wrote in the new issue of National Vital Statistics Reports.

For the NCHS report, researchers examined four types of dementia recognized by the International Classification of Diseases, including vascular dementia, unspecified dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and others attributed to degenerative diseases of the nervous system. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

In fact, of the nearly 262,000 deaths attributed to dementia in 2017, 46 percent were due to Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Some of the increase in deaths can be attributed to changes in record-keeping and guidelines for coding, but even death certificates understate the numbers, researchers said in the study.

Last year, the CDC revealed the country’s burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will double by the year 2060. The agency’s research, the first to factor in race and ethnicity in its forecast, suggests Hispanic-Americans will face the largest projected increase, largely due to population growth. Non-Hispanic whites are still expected to have the largest total number of Alzheimer’s cases.

Source: NCHS report, March 14, 2019

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